An association of small fuel distributors, which has 60 members, small companies with 90 petrol stations, on Wednesday asked for urgent help from the government and a solution for a sustainable model for their business, which has become unsustainable, they stressed, due to the latest price decisions.
Representatives of the association, which was established 20 days ago, told a press conference that small distributors in Croatia covered 23% of the fuel distribution market, which they think is not an insignificant percentage, that in the past two weeks their members recorded total losses of over 16 million kuna, and that 90% of the 150 petrol stations of small distributors had closed down so far.
For the last eight months we have borne the brunt of rising fuel prices and until now we haven’t asked for anything, hoping that the government will care about our 60 or so companies with about 1,000 employees, said a representative of the association and owner of petrol stations in Zadar and Zabok, Domagoj Puh, adding they had now reached a point where they were no longer able to repay their loans as they had no earnings.
He said that already in 2021 they had issues because their total revenues were 2 billion kuna, while their expenditures were 1.9 billion kuna. This does not include loan obligations, which left the companies with very little profit, a total of about HRK 20-30 million for all members.
Puh also said that they didn’t want to put pressure anyone but were asking the government to find a solution also for them.
On Monday, the Croatian government has extended the freeze on the prices of basic fuels at filling stations off the motorways for another 14 days, and it also set the highest wholesale prices. At off-motorway filling stations, the price of basic Eurodiesel remains 13.08 kuna and the price of basic petrol Eurosuper 95 13.50 kuna per litre. The price of blue-dyed diesel is capped at 9.45 kuna per litre.
The reduction in excise duties on petroleum products has also been extended for another 14 days. Wholesale prices are fixed so that, with all payable dues, they do not exceed the highest prices set for retail selling points off the motorways.
The association asks the government to come up with a solution so that they could be left with at least 0.60 kuna per litre of fuel sold because that way they could stay in business, while now, Puh said, their margin was in the red by 0.69 lipa.
The head of the association, Armando Miljavac, noted that the profit margin had been negative for a long time since they had been buying fuel at higher prices than the ones they could sell it at. According to him, they are buying basic fuel at 13.45 kuna per litre and selling it at 13.08 kuna.
Answering a question from the press, representatives of the association said that they recently had good talks at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and that they were hoping a solution would be found for them now as well, because fuel supply in many small towns and villages was also at risk, including on the Adriatic coast, which could also harm the tourist season.