One-sixth of fuel stations go up for sale in Turkey
Merve Erdil - ISTANBULSome 2,000 of 13,000 fuel stations in Turkey have been put up for sale as the renewal date for usufruct right contracts approaches in the sector amid complaints about low profits following a recent regulation limiting the expiry dates of usufruct contracts to five years from 15-20 years.
Under such contracts, the owner (a non-dealer third party) of the property grants a usufruct right to the fuel distributor, and the dealer possessing the leasehold right signs a dealership agreement with the distribution company to run the station for five years.
Because these contracts will be renewed in September, distribution companies have tried to find more dealers, who are also negotiating with new companies for higher transfer fees and profits.
“Thousands of fuel stations are for sale right now because they are making losses. The profit margin in the sector is around just 42 Kuruş … I believe at least 30 percent of the fuel dealers will change hands in September,” said the head of the Petroleum Products Employers’ Union (PÜİS), İmran Okumuş.
Around 12-13 percent of all fuel stations changed their distribution companies in 2010.
Fuel distributors do not want to pay high transfer prices to stations, but offer dividends from sales, according to sector representatives.
There are 85 fuel distribution companies active in Turkey.