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    Boustead to expand convenience store operations in Malaysia.

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Over the next five years, Boustead Holdings Bhd projects 15 to 20 percent annual growth in its number of gas stations and the company's sales.

    The company currently holds 8 percent market share in the nation in the retail petroleum business and is looking to grow aggressively in the coming years.

    “We are talking of growth in terms of numbers of retail stations and sales of fuel products, which hopefully will translate into growth of profit margin and returns to shareholders,” said Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, Boustead's group managing director.

    According to Lodin, Boustead will undergo a rebranding and reimaging effort of its gas stations, and planning for aggressive selling of petroleum products and an expansion of convenience store operation at the gas stations.

    "If it could be done in a proper and systematic way, I am quite confident we could see growth of 15 to 20 percent yearly for the next five years," Lodin said at a press conference following an extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

    The EGM was called to approve Boustead's acquisition of a 70 percent stake in the 245-station BP Malaysia, which it is buying for U.S.$120 million from BP Asia Pacific Ltd. Boustead has been given a year to use the BP brand name and source supply of petroleum products.

    The other 30 percent interest in BP Malaysia is owned by Boustead's parent company, Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera.

    On the topic of convenience store expansion, Lodin pointed out that in some overseas markets, sales at the convenience stores have overtaken the sale of fuel products.

    "It will be a good outlet for some of the products manufactured or promoted by our group," he said, noting that the group has been in the retail business for a long time and has a good infrastructure, experts and logistics to support the retailing business.

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