Proudly Eastern Cape company celebrates a decade of growth

BY SUPPLIED - DECEMBER 22, 2015

Pioneering 100% Eastern Cape-owned company, Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM), has almost trebled in size in its first decade of operation, becoming a major employer and investor in the province and the largest Chevron-Caltex franchisor in Africa.

The first South African company to be awarded a master franchise under a trial of the Caltex “branded marketer” model, CECM celebrated its 10th birthday this month – marking a decade of investment that started with R10-million in 34 sites in December 2005, and now approaches 100 sites and investment of over R300-million in new sites and ongoing refurbishment of existing sites. 

CECM invested more than R70-million in site upgrades in 2015 alone, with eight new sites set to launch by mid-2016.

Having successfully pioneered the branded marketer model, CECM now owns the rights to all Caltex sites in the Eastern Cape and controls more than 12% of the Caltex retail network in South Africa. The company is one of 11 independently-owned Caltex branded marketers in South Africa, and the biggest in parent company Chevron’s Africa-Middle East-Pakistan region.

From an initial four employees in its East London head office, CECM now also has a regional office in Port Elizabeth and directly employs 34 people, while more than 1 500 forecourt staff are employed under the Caltex banner in the Eastern Cape.

 Investments in new sites, refurbishments to existing sites, fuel logistics and supply chain security, accessibility and customer-focused services have seen customer approval ratings rise to 94% and sales volumes more than double over the period, giving Caltex the second-biggest share of the fuel market in the Eastern Cape.

CECM was named Chevron South Africa’s Top Branded Marketer in 2014, recognising its solid growth in difficult market conditions, as well as its contribution to customer value, innovation and building the Caltex brand.

CECM chief executive Clive Berlyn said the company’s biggest milestone of the past decade was its R130-million acquisition of 41 sites in 2012, the single biggest disposal by Chevron under the branded marketer programme, more than doubling the size of the company overnight and expanding its footprint to cover the entire Eastern Cape.

Berlyn said he was particularly proud that systems and programmes pioneered in the Eastern Cape by CECM had since been adopted as best practice in the Caltex branded marketer model in Southern Africa. These include the Fresh Stop convenience store on Caltex forecourts in partnership with Food Lovers’ Market, with 21 now in place in the region, and Uzuko Carriers, a joint venture of CECM and listed company Cargo Carriers (Pty) Ltd that transports fuel to 95% of CECM’s network.

In an investment of some R6-million, CECM owns 50% of Uzuko Carriers, with its tankers ensuring reliability and continuity of supply.

“We are very much a proudly Eastern Cape company, and proud to say that more than 95% of our non-fuel expenditure stays in the province, and that we give back to the community that supports us by supporting education and sport in the province through our corporate social investment programme.

“As shareholders, we are committed Eastern Cape people and we believe that this province has huge growth potential which needs to be unlocked through investment, creating sustainable value and meaningful employment.

“We work hard to provide career prospects, rather than ‘just a job’, for our petrol attendants and cashiers, as well as recognising their outstanding customer service and providing education opportunities for employees and their families,” he said.

The company was founded by Berlyn with close friend and business partner Richard Ndungane. Both owned Caltex filling stations in Mthatha in the former Transkei when they decided to team up to apply for the branded marketer franchise for their area.

Ndungane passed away in 2010 and, after an extensive search for a suitable business partner; his shares were bought in 2013 by leading Nelson Mandela Bay business figure Stephen Dondolo, founder of black-owned investment holding company African Pioneer (Pty) Ltd.

Dondolo has a long track record in business, dating back to pre-1994, with interests in liquor, fishing, distribution and entertainment, and shares the founders’ deep Eastern Cape roots and enterprising spirit.

“Together, we will continue to seek out and partner with entrepreneurial retailers who have a passion for the brand and want to be part of the fuel retail industry,” Berlyn said.

Reflecting on the company’s first decade, Berlyn looked to future growth for CECM and said the company had a “full pipeline of new projects planned in the retail fuel industry in the Eastern Cape” for 2016 and onwards.

 

CAPTION: The Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer Board of Directors, firmly rooted in the Eastern Cape, contributed the success of the company to its commitment to investing in the Eastern Cape and its people. Seated from left to right: Clive Berlyn - founding member and chief executive officer, Stephen Dondolo – non-executive director, Patrick Kelly – chief operating officer and Greg Webb – non-executive director.