ON THE RISE

Zambia 2015 | MINING & ENERGY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Sidy Bane, Managing Director of PUMA Energy Zambia, on expansion plans, the Lusaka Stock Exchange, and job creation.

Sidy Bane
BIOGRAPHY
Born in Senegal, Sidy Bane completed studies at Paris University and obtained an MSc in business auditing and planning from the Graduate Management School in Lille. He joined Puma Energy in 2009 and has held several senior positions in Angola and Congo (Sales & Marketing Manager), in South Africa (Regional Retail Manager-Africa), and Namibia and Zambia as General Manager. Previously he had also worked in the industry for Mobil Oil. He speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English.

What is the significance of Zambia for the overall strategy of PUMA in Africa?

In Africa, PUMA Energy is currently present in 18 countries. Its operations in Zambia are particularly important because Zambia is the second largest producer of copper in Africa and the mining sector is a crucially important sector for us. As an oil company, we provide fuel to the main mines in Zambia. The operational excellence we have built in Zambia serves as a benchmark allowing us to acquire new customers in other African countries, and even in other continents. We have a presence in all the countries of southern Africa and in 18 nations across the continent.

What have been the main growth drivers in Zambia?

The retail segment has been a key engine of the economy. Zambia ranks among the top 10 countries in Africa experiencing the highest GDP growth. The middle class is growing in Zambia and many more people can afford cars, which has an impact on the consumption of fuel. The aviation segment has also grown. Currently we have 55 service stations operating in Zambia and we have nationwide coverage, and are present in all the provinces of Zambia from the south in Livingstone to Kasama in the north, and from Lundazi in the east to Senanga in the west. We are also in remote areas like Zambezi, where we established a new site last year.

What are your expansion plans for 2016?

Currently we have several sites that are undergoing renovations. This is a program that we have had in place for many years now. We are committed to revamping the old service stations and bringing them up to standard. We are also constructing new sites from scratch. All of this activity is designed to meet the market demand. Modern sites offer high quality services and additional facilities, like convenience stores, restaurants in the service stations, and so on, which we will be introducing soon in Zambia. Our investment in this country reflects our commitment to this market for the long term.

Has this growth been reflected on PUMA Energy's performance at the LSE?

I consider the Lusaka Stock Exchange to be dynamic. We observe new listings, which show that the stock exchange is advancing. If it was not, new companies would not be listed. The overall economy in Zambia is reflecting on the LSE. That is the reason why companies such as PUMA Energy are listed where the growth of the company should be viewed with a long-term perspective.

How are you approaching the B2B segment?

PUMA Energy Zambia is engaged in storage, distribution, sales, and marketing of fuels and lubricants to both the retail and B2B sectors. Puma Energy supplies fuels and lubricants to different segments of B2B from transport and agriculture to mining and parastatals. The mining sector is a key customer, but agriculture is also a key sector for the future.

Are you involved in renewable energies in Zambia?

We are not involved directly in this field, but we believe that they can assist to improve the energy mix. Renewable energies offer a huge opportunity for African countries to diversify their energy mix. We consider renewables key to the future of Zambia with its huge potential for solar and hydro-electricity.

How does PUMA Energy integrate environmentally friendly policies into its operations?

Firstly, it is Puma Energy's policy is to fully comply with the regulatory requirements of the countries where we operate in. Being in an industry dealing with hazardous products, health safety and environment (HSE) standards are of utmost importance to us. We have therefore put in place policies and practices that ensure we do not harm the environment. We have stringent specifications for the trucks that transport our product; our facilities are constructed to standards that exceed the local regulations; employees that work for Puma Energy are required to undergo refresher HSE training on an annual basis; and contractors that carry out works at Puma Energy facilities are vetted and trained to ensure they comply to the companies HSE standard. The company has an Environment Management System ISO 14001 certified by SGS who conducts annual surveillance audits to verify the company's continuous compliance.

What is PUMA Energy's contribution in terms of job creation?

We directly employ more than 200 people in Zambia with only two expatriates. Therefore, 98% of our staff is Zambian, meaning that PUMA Energy relies on local expertise to develop its affiliates. PUMA Energy is also contributing to job creation indirectly via our various contractors and retail sites. Also, the training component is vital for our development as a company and the development of this market. Training is implemented across the entire value chain, from senior managers, dealers, contractors, all the way to the staff at the service station.

What are your expectations for the year ahead?

Our plan is to continue to contribute positively to the growth of the country. We expect to expand our operations and invest in new assets and infrastructure to build additional capacity in this market. We also aim to continue to deliver the highest quality of service to meet the expectations of our customers and shareholders.