Fri | Aug 7, 2020

Lube distributor enters cooking gas market - Williams plans to list Regency in 2019

Published:Friday | December 7, 2018 | 12:00 AMNeville Graham/Business Reporter

A new company, Regency Petroleum Limited (RPL), has entered the domestic cooking-gas market, which brings the number of players to five.

RPL's entry comes months behind the debut of Yaadman LPG, which is being marketed by GB Energy Jamaica, the operators of the Texaco network.

Regency Petroleum CEO Andrew Williams is planting his stake in the western end of the island, where he plans to compete on price with established cooking-gas distributors, namely IGL, GasPro and Petcom.

"Our main selling point is price. We are catering for the masses. We can guarantee the cheapest price every time," Williams told the Financial Gleaner. "If they can produce an invoice that is lower, we will match it or beat it," he said.

Right now, RPL's only product is a 25-pound cylinder that will retail for $2,500. This size cylinder typically retails at $2,800-$3,200. Williams says he will soon add a 12-pound cylinder, which will sell for $1,200.

Although Companies Office records show that Regency Petroleum is a start-up that was registered just half a year ago in May, its owner is no stranger to domestic liquid petroleum gas (LPG) distribution. As the owner of a retail operation called Central Supplies and Construction located in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, Williams formerly distributed three cooking-gas brands. He plans to use the network developed under that business as market channels for his own RPL product.

Williams says he has invested over $100 million in setting up Regency Petroleum, which includes an LPG filling plant located at Crawford in St Elizabeth and trucks for transporting LPG and cylinders. The plant has the capacity to fill 1,500 cylinders per day, using two work shifts. Williams says he has dealers lined up in Westmoreland, St Elizabeth and Kingston but that his primary focus will be the western Jamaica market.

The businessman also owns another company, Master Lube, which markets Supreme and Prolube lubricants. That company was expected to be positioning for a listing on the stock market, but now Williams says his advisers, Mayberry Investments Limited, are suggesting a change of focus.

The LPG market is seen as holding more promise for growth, and Regency Petroleum is now seen as a better target listing, Williams said.

"We are looking to list the Regency Petroleum business since it offers a more attractive option. We estimate that by the end of the first quarter in 2019, all should be in place," he said.

RPL is registered as a petroleum marketing company, a business that covers automotive fuel, lubrication oils and greases. The company is owned 50:50 by Andrew Williams and his wife, attorney-at-law Jeneive Sabdul-Williams.