Market leader seen losing ground
Sri Lanka’s lubricant sales rose 11.3 percent year-on-year (YoY) in response to the influx of vehicle imports seen during 2015 and 2016 but the market leader continued to lose its market share as the competitors gained ground.
According to the latest lubricants market report released by the Public Utilities Commission, the country’s lubricant market regulator, the sales measured by kiloliters (kL) grew 11.4 percent in 2016 or by 6,607 kL to 64,585 kL.This is the second largest growth in a single year after 2010, when the quantity of sales grew by almost 10,000 kL as the post-war economic euphoria stoked vehicle imports.
Sri Lanka had a Rs.26.1 billion-worth lubricant market by end-2016, shared between 16 players—out of which, 13 players are authorized to import, export, sell, supply and distribute lubricants and the rest engaged in blending in addition to the said activities.
Sri Lanka’s lubricants market is led by Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC, the local unit of the US-based multinational, which had a market share of 45.29 percent by 2016, against 47.58 percent in 2015 and 49.3 percent in 2014.
But Chevron Lanka has been losing its market share during the last few years as the next biggest player, Lanka Indian Oil Corporation PLC (LIOC) and a couple of other new entrants were seen gaining ground.
LIOC increased its market share to 16.4 percent in 2016 from 14.9 percent a year earlier but Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, the third largest player, lost the market share from 9.2 percent to 8.4 percent.
Bharath Petroleum Corporation, which sells Mak branded lubricants, and Laugfs accounted for 11 percent of the market.
Sri Lanka’s lubricant market was liberalized last year making the playing field tougher for the existing players.
Chevron, LIOC and Laugfs Holdings Limited, which have the authority to blend lubricants in Sri Lanka, blended a total of 47,286 kL of lubricants in 2016 and about 68 percent out of that was blended by Chevron.
Although Chevron lost its market share, the firm was able to increase its total sales continuously and by end-2016, Chevron sold a total of 29,251 kL of lubricants, increasing from 27,585 kL in 2015.
Over 72 percent of lubricant sales in Sri Lanka go to the automotive sector, while 18 percent goes to the industrial sector.