Gulf dealers have been reassured that everything is ‘business as usual’ since the sale last October of Bayford Oil – which operates the Gulf franchise in the UK – to an emerging force in the oil market, GB Oils Ltd, part of the DCC Group. The £22.5 million deal was done with barely a ripple. 
GB Oils

is described as the largest oil distributor in Britain, with an approximate market share of 12% (including transport fuels). It also aims to be the largest supplier to the independent dealer network within three years.
 At the time of the purchase Tommy Breen, chief executive of DCC plc, said: “The acquisition of Bayford Oil (which adds approximately 12% to DCC’s annualised oil volumes in Britain) represents a further step in DCC’s continuing strategy of consolidating the fragmented oil distribution business in Britain. It will strengthen DCC’s position in the north of England and significantly increase our business in supplying the independent retail petrol station market.”  
Bayford Oil sold 468 million litres of oil in the year ended June 2009, including 155 million litres of petrol and diesel sold to independent dealer-owned petrol stations under the Gulf brand. 
Gulf is destined to become a dominant brand for the independent dealer market, according to Keith Jewers, who continues to head up the Gulf operation in the UK. With Gulf’s 200 dealer sites now incorporated into the mix, GB Oils now has over 900 dealer locations that it directly supplies in the UK and it is anticipated that the Gulf brand will enjoy significant growth in the months ahead, although the extent of brand expansion remains under tight wraps for now. 
 “GB Oils has 20 area managers in the UK, and a range of brands to ensure that there is a fit, both in terms of a dealer’s aspirations and the market place in which it operates,” says Jewers. 
“We have the brand, economics, supply, and tenure to be able to offer a serious alternative to the major suppliers in the UK. As a group we now have over 600 company-owned tankers enabling us to service an expanding customer base almost anywhere in the country.”  
 DCC has grown significantly in recent years through a series of acquisitions which include Carlton Fuels, Martindales and CPL. Its current portfolio, which may  not be apparent to all, includes retail brands such as Texaco, Regent and UK Petroleum. They all come under the umbrella of GB Oils Ltd in the UK. 
Jewers confirmed that for existing Gulf retailers their position has already been strengthened. “These are exciting times for everyone associated with Gulf. GB Oils is a market leader in the sales, marketing and distribution of retail and commercial fuels, and our Gulf branded service stations will now benefit from an improved distribution network and the all-important reassurance that its long term supply position is extremely well protected. 
The network will also benefit from access to a wider range of retail lubricants, including Shell and Texaco as well as Gulf. The dealers currently with GB Oils have had access to the company’s specialist lubricants advisers and have therefore been able to improve customer choice and maximise sales and profits via this lucrative income stream. GB Oils has also been selected as the lubricants partner for the RMI.”
Jewers is quick to reassure Gulf dealers concerned – or surprised by – news of the developments behind the scenes: “The standard of service and understanding of their businesses will continue. We will strive to support all our dealers in a way that continues to differentiate us from our competitors. The ethos of service and support is shared by all within the new expanded Gulf network. 
“Personally I’m relishing the challenge to really bring Gulf back to the fore as a major influence in the market.”