Philippe Charleux: “To sell lubricants, you really need to produce locally”

Philippe Charleux: “To sell lubricants, you really need to produce locally”

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Present at Cristian Plant for the 10th anniversary of TOTAL Romania, Philippe Charleux insisted on lubricants’ local production to support our sales development to the East with high potential for growth.

Was TOTAL right investing in Romania 10 years ago?


Yes, we've been right to invest in Romania. Despite the crisis we faced in 2008 and 2009, we are back to better economic conditions now and perspectives are good. But there is another reason for our investment. I think that if you want to sell lubricants in a country or in a region, you really need to produce it locally. At the beginning, you can import your products because you should develop your range for your local customers and also be sure and reliable with your supply chain. But after that, you can't import everything. It was very important for TOTAL to produce locally.

What does Brasov Plant represent in the TOTAL lubricant production capacities in Europe?

I think we should not look only at the volumes that are produced here. We represent a big brand in Western Europe also because our presence in this region dates back many years ago. Here, in Romania, we have been working since 2000, which is totally different. We are quite new in the country and also in the region. Cristian plant is very important in our strategy because from Romania we can send products to some other countries around. In other words, we have a foot in each of these different countries and we can initiate the business this way. To answer your question, the Romanian plant is not so important volume-wise for now, but being situated in the south-eastern part of Europe, it is a strategic point for our business growth.

What are the sales perspectives in Europe?

Globally speaking, the market is not booming for the time being. In Western Europe, for instance, almost all markets are shrinking. That is to say we are losing overall markets and it's much more difficult to win as volume. But we are still increasing in terms of market share in this kind of markets. In Romania and Eastern Europe, I think we have a growth potential if we enhance our market share and volume as well. Now, the growth is in the Eastern part of Europe and not in the West. So, to be balanced in Europe, you need to be on both sides of the continent.

Philippe Charleux
TOTAL Vice President of Global Lubricant Business