PAN AFRICAN fuel retailer, Puma Energy, is set to launch in South Africa by midyear in an investment that has thus far cost R200 million. This is likely to challenge the dominance of the big five fuel retailers: Shell, BP, Caltex, Engen and Total, and smaller retailers like Sasol. Jason Abrams, the commercial development manager at Trafigura, the oil and metals trader which is Puma’s parent company, confirmed that the company had acquired 40 petrol station sites in Mpumalanga and northern KwaZulu-Natal. Nineteen of these sites are ready to be branded as Puma Energy. Puma Energy holds a wholesale licence and in South Africa is prohibited from holding a retail licence as well. The company has acquired independent fuel retailers who rely on the big oil companies for supply. The reason for entry through the north-east of the country is because Puma is currently using storage facilities in Matola, Mozambique. Puma Energy will unveil its own storage facility also at Matola by year end, which will carry more variety and flexible delivery time. For expansion into the rest of the country, Abrams says the company will first secure additional storage sites before opening more stations. Puma Energy originates from Argentina, and is present in 45 countries across five continents. – ANA