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Z Energy rollout update: a clearer Kiwi choice this Christmas

Motorists will have a much more visible choice as to whether they want to support a new Kiwi company when they fill up over the summer holidays as the Z Energy rollout spreads quickly across the country.

More than 40 formerly Shell retail service station sites have already been rebranded as Z, with the remaining 170 sites across the country due for completion by the middle of 2012.

Z Energy’s General Manager of Retail, Mark Forsyth, said the choice of supporting a Kiwi company would be clearer this summer, with the Z brand being much more visible for travellers.

“Customers choosing to support Z will experience the brand through our guaranteed forecourt service between 10 and 5pm every day, the opportunity to help choose which community projects receive more than $1 million in support over the next year and a much-improved high quality coffee and food offer, not to mention our famous pies and cupcakes in many of the new Z sites,” he said.

Mark said as the rollout spread across the country, Z was continuing to actively seek customer feedback.

“We’re delighted with the feedback we’re getting from our customers. It’s clear that this industry had become complacent and needed a good shake up. The feedback from our customers makes us all the more committed to listening and continuing to earn their support and loyalty.

“We’d love our customers to tell us what they think of their Z experience this Christmas holiday, either through www.z.co.nz, www.facebook.com/zenergynz or through our interactive ‘A to Z’ screens which are progressively being rolled out as sites receive the new shop offer.

“Z is at the start of a long journey and listening to what our customers tell us is at the heart of us continuing to improve.”

Mark said around 3,500 would be employed nationwide over the rebrand and refit programme and he thanked all of the local contractors for their hard work and professionalism in safely running the Z rollout programme.

Z customers will also continue to receive double Fly Buys until the end of the year at both Shell and Z-branded sites.

To see when Z is coming to a town near you visit www.z.co.nz.



Z Energy half year result

Z Energy today said trading conditions were tough with low economic growth and high pump prices resulting in declining industry fuel volumes over the six months to 30 September 2011.

Despite a noticeable increase in competitor responses to Z’s brand activity, Z continued to grow its market share in petrol and diesel sales and received positive feedback from its customers about the changes in brand and customer offers.

Read the full statement here.

Slides detailing this performance are available here: http://www.infratil.com/assets/Uploads/PDF/ift_results_breakdown_300911.pdf


Z Energy commits to $60 million national brand rollout

Z Energy will soon be one of New Zealand's most visible brands, with the company committing $60 million to rolling out the new local brand across the country over the next nine months.

Starting today, the Shell brand will be progressively replaced with Z across all of the company's 210 retail service stations, 90 commercial truckstops and all company offices and operations.

Z Chief Executive Mike Bennetts said the decision to commit to the Z brand had been taken after exhaustive consumer research, careful consideration of customer feedback from the 10 site Z pilot programme and very strong results from brand tracking research.

“We will commit $60 million to continue to build a strong Kiwi brand and deliver a much better customer offer based on the feedback that New Zealanders have given us.

“Our customers have told us they want a contemporary local identity that reflects who we are as New Zealanders and what we value. Our consumer research has reflected a growing sense of national confidence which we call "New Kiwi" and upon which the Z brand is built.

“Despite the brand being just 16 weeks old and able to be experienced at just 10 pilot sites, recent brand tracking results show that one in two New Zealanders recognise the Z brand unprompted.

“Combined with the feedback from customers and the public, we now have the confidence to invest in continuing to build a world class Kiwi company and a very strong local brand,” he said.

“In selecting a brand that reflects that we are a Kiwi company, we are now making it obvious to the vast majority of New Zealand motorists that they can now choose to support a kiwi company when they're filling up.”

Mike thanked New Zealanders for the feedback that many people have provided and acknowledged the feedback that a new brand in itself would not be enough.

“We've been told loud and clear that Kiwis will give us a chance and back us, but they expect much more from us than they do from our international competitors. They want a new standard of service, they want better food and coffee, they want us to be straight up and transparent and they want us to listen.

“We've listened hard and what we are committing to today is a direct result of what people have taken the time to tell us they want. All Z sites will offer a guaranteed forecourt concierge for people that want it between 10am and 5pm, and around 100 sites will also have the Z espresso coffee and food offer, as well as upgraded bathrooms.”

Every Z site will contribute $5,000 to local organisations and charities in their area depending on how many customers vote for them.

“Over the course of the Z rollout we will contribute $1.2 million into local neighbourhood organisations that help New Zealanders who need it. Additionally, 3,500 locals will be employed in regions across the country over the course of the rebranding and refurbishment.”

Mike thanked people who had provided feedback for shaping Z's brand and offer.

“Our commitment to New Zealand is that we will continue to actively listen to what people tell us they want and will look to progressively improve what we're doing. Where we get it wrong and don't meet people's expectations we'll say sorry and fix it.

“People have told us they want much more in a service station experience than what they have come to expect. We reckon that New Zealanders deserve better and today represents the beginning of our commitment to delivering it across the country.”

Mike said the rollout of the Z brand and the new food and espresso coffee offer would be introduced to the 100 leading sites across the country and the Z brand to every site on a region by region basis over the coming nine months.

He said while the commitment to the rebrand and new customer offer represented significant investment, it would over time be more cost effective than continuing to lease the Shell brand.

A calendar is available at z.co.nz stating when Z is coming to each region.

Some interesting facts:

  • $60 million commitment
  • $1.2 million invested into local neighbourhood groups and initiatives
  • 3,500 people employed nationwide for brand roll out and refurbishment
  • 14 kms of new canopy, 1,200 metres of new bench tops to be installed
  • 36,000 cubic metres of old signage to be recycled



30 million litres of new fuel storage improves southern supply

Z Energy today commissioned 30 million litres of bulk fuel storage tanks at the Port of Lyttelton, and committed to at least $10 million of additional investment in the South Island’s fuel storage infrastructure over the coming two years.

Z Energy is the New Zealand company which owns and operates the Shell-branded retail fuel business. Z is owned by Infratil and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.

The three 10 million litre tanks were formally opened by the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Minister, the Honourable Gerry Brownlee and the Chair of the Z Board Marko Bogoievski at a ceremony at the Port of Lyttelton today.

Z Chief Executive Mike Bennetts said the commissioning of the tanks had been delayed twice by the Christchurch earthquakes and it was pleasing to formally open the facility.

“I want to thank all of the many people who have been involved in developing this important project, unfortunately under some difficult circumstances.


“These tanks will make an important contribution to ensuring a reliable fuel supply to Christchurch and surrounding areas and it feels good to be completing an investment which will play a role in helping get Christchurch back on its feet,” he said.

The tanks hold 30 million litres of jet fuel, diesel and petrol and have cost $25 million to construct. All of the 30 million litre capacity – enough to boost Canterbury’s stock cover by a week - is now fully operational.

Mike said the country’s bulk fuel storage had been rationalised and reduced over the previous decade and there was now a need for sustained investment in the country’s fuel infrastructure.

“As a company owned by New Zealanders and committed to New Zealand, Z will take a lead in investing in the country’s energy infrastructure. Today I am pleased to announce Z’s plans to spend at least $10 million in additional fuel storage in the South Island.”

Mike said that detail around the exact location for additional fuel storage was currently being worked through and further announcements confirming the size and location of new tankage would follow over the coming months.



Awanuia marine oil barge

Z Energy today said it would make the Awanuia marine oil barge available to play whatever role it could in an attempt to recover fuel oil from the Rena.

The Awanuia is a dedicated marine fuel barge owned by Seafuels and chartered by Z Energy to take fuel oil from the Marsden Point refinery to supply ships in Auckland harbour.

Z Chief Executive Mike Bennetts said Z was requested to make the boat available by the Rena’s salvors late last night.

“The salvors have requested that the Awanuia be in Tauranga on Monday and, thanks to the understanding of some of our marine customers, we have committed to that,” he said.

Mike Bennetts noted that any recovery operation would be carried out by the salvors, with Z’s contribution being the release of the charter and making the Awanuia available as requested.


Z appoints new general manager

Z Energy has appointed Rob Wiles to the position of General Manager, Corporate.

Rob has had a strong international career specialising in corporate finance, infrastructure, treasury management, mergers and acquisitions, strategy and business development. He also has experience in the development of start-up businesses.

Rob has recently returned to New Zealand and comes to Z after completing a fixed term contract as Corporate Treasurer with listed company, Contact Energy. Prior to this role he was General Manager, Strategy, at nabCapital based in Melbourne.  Rob has held senior positions with NAB, Bank of New Zealand, Southpac Merchant Finance and National Bank of New Zealand.

Z CEO Mike Bennetts said he was pleased to welcome Rob to the Z team.

“Rob has the skills, commercial rigour and senior executive experience to make an important contribution to a company which is focused on customers and growth,” he said.

“His background in corporate finance, strategy development and the development of new business opportunities in particular give the Z Energy Executive team additional depth as we look to future development opportunities which may arise both within and outside of our current core business.”

Rob holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Canterbury, and Finance and Management from the University of London, as well as a postgraduate diploma in Banking from Massey University.
Mike Bennetts said Rob would start with Z on 17 October.



Relaunch of the Z Energy Wilding Park Tennis Complex

The country’s largest tennis centre in Christchurch will be known as the Z Energy Wilding Park Tennis Centre following a $1 million donation from Z Energy shareholder, Infratil, to help pay for the reconstruction of the complex.

The Wilding Park Tennis Complex has 39 tennis courts and is internationally renowned for the many high profile matches it has hosted over the years. The complex was badly damaged in the February quake and has been out of action since. It typically employs about 30 people.

Canterbury Tennis is the regional body for the sport with 109 member clubs.

Z Energy Chief Executive Mike Bennetts said Z was delighted to be publicly associated with the rebuild of the most significant tennis centre in the country, which supports and promotes tennis for school age children through to professional levels.

“Infratil has made $1 million available to help get this centre back on its feet through the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, which was launched by the Prime Minister and led by Mark Weldon from the NZX. The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust has been established to make funding decisions.

“We have staff and significant operations in the Christchurch area and we are committed to continuing to invest in and support the city and its people. Z is really pleased to be a part of continuing to get Christchurch back up and running through helping one of the best most innovative sporting organisations in the country get back on its feet.”

Chief Executive of Canterbury Tennis, David Blackwell, said he was humbled by Infratil’s generous support for tennis in Canterbury and excited about the association between Z Energy as an emerging Kiwi company and the Wilding Park Tennis Complex.

“The $1 million of funding from Infratil will go a long way and we will also continue to work alongside the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Appeal in relation to their commitment to some additional funding. Current professional engineering reports will determine the exact configuration and location of the new facility.

“Once up and running again, we expect to have tens of thousands of school kids taking part in tennis development programmes every year, so this support will make a real difference for many Kiwi kids and families,” he said.

“The Z Energy Wilding Park Tennis Complex will serve as a symbol of the partnership between two leading Kiwi companies, the Government and the people of Christchurch towards something that really matters to Christchurch and to New Zealand.”

David said construction was likely to begin in the next five to six months with the facilities progressively reopened over the coming year.


Z Putaruru wraps up 10 store pilot

What is becoming one of the country’s most visible Kiwi brands came to the Waikato this morning, with the opening of Z Putaruru. Z Putaruru, on State Highway 1, was officially opened this morning by South Waikato Mayor Neil Sinclair.

The opening of the site completes the 10 site Z pilot programme which started with Z Greenlane on 3 June. There are now Z sites in Wellington (2), Waiouru, Auckland (3), Christchurch (2), Turangi and Putaruru.

Z is jointly owned by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Kiwi company Infratil. The decision to replace the Shell logo with a new brand that reflects the local ownership of the business across the 10 pilot sites was developed following one of the largest pieces of customer research into what Kiwi consumers want in a locally owned service station.

“The Z brand will provide a visual point of difference and our customers will know they’re supporting a Kiwi company when they shop with us. More importantly, our new look stores will provide customers with a completely overhauled and significantly improved offer,” said Z CEO Mike Bennetts.

“We’re delighted with the opening of Z Putaruru and look forward to the feedback from locals.”

With the completion of the 10 Z pilot sites, Mike said the focus would be on consistently delivering the new offer and also on customer feedback.

“We now have 10 sites across very different parts of the country and are able to fine tune our offer based on what our customers are telling us, but what we do know so far is our customers love where we are going,” he said.

“Once we have taken all customer feedback on board and are satisfied we are delivering exactly what our customers want and to the standard they deserve we will be able to take the decision on the rest of the network.”

Customer feedback on the Z experience can be provided through the Z website at www.z.co.nz or through www.facebook.com/zenergynz. Z customers providing feedback through a short survey at z.co.nz will go into the draw to win 10,000 Fly Buys points.


Z Harbour City Charity Vote Outcome

Four local Wellington community organisations today received a welcome boost from Z Energy.

On 8 July Z Energy opened the first Z in the Capital City, right in the Wellington central business district. At each Z pilot site, Z Energy has celebrated the opening by inviting customers to vote for their preferred local charity when they filled up at the new Z branded service stations.

Z has replaced the Shell logo to better reflect its local ownership, but more importantly to provide a new kiwi service experience and offering designed to meet what Kiwis said they wanted from a New Zealand service station.

“Not only are the profits from the Z business being kept in New Zealand and going towards meeting the costs of superannuation, we are also supporting New Zealand businesses in our offering, by buying locally as much as possible. Finally and most importantly we also want to support our local communities.

“We wanted to do that from day one – so at the opening of each Z site we have committed $5000 to go to local community organisations as part of our opening celebrations.

“Our customers have been able to cast a vote for one of four local community organisations that were selected by our local staff,” said Mike Bennetts, CEO of Z Energy.

Each customer who filled up at Z Harbour City got a token to vote for their favourite group and the $5000 has been split according to the percentage of votes each community group received.

Mike said: “We’re a Kiwi company operated locally so inviting locals to choose the charities that matter most to them is a reflection of what matters to us – local operations benefiting local people,” he said.

“We really appreciate the support the local community has shown in visiting our site and voting for their preferred charity, and the feedback they have been giving us on what they like about our new service stations, what we could do better, and some ideas of their own.”

The votes are now in and the highest number of votes went to Wellington Free Ambulance, followed by Downtown Community Ministry Foodbank, Plunket Wellington and Eastern Rocks Community Patrol.

“Wellington Free Ambulance is a highly visible organisation in the Wellington community. The outcome of the votes reflects the high regard and gratitude our customers have for this fantastic organisation,” Mike Bennetts said.

As with all Z service stations, the site is operated by locals. In the case of Harbour City, the local operators are Greg and Murray Young.

At Z Harbour City, our customers voted for the $5000 to be divided in the following way:

Wellington Free Ambulance

Downtown Community Ministry Foodbank

Plunket Wellington

Eastern Rocks Community Patrol



Closure of Shell Titirangi

Z Energy closed its Shell-branded service station in Titirangi at midday today, after lease negotiations with the site’s landlord collapsed.

The Shell service station is a small site at 423 – 425 Titirangi Road. Z Energy is the New Zealand-owned company that owns and operates the Z and Shell-branded service station network.

Z Energy’s General Manager of Retail, Mark Forsyth, said it was disappointing to have to close the site, but the company could not accept the revised lease terms sought by the landlord which would have rendered the site uneconomic.

“We offered well above market rates for the continued lease of the site but could not reach agreement and now have been left with no choice but to close the site.”

Under the terms of the lease, this leaves five days for the site to be closed and for all assets to be removed from the site. The site has been closed and work is now underway on removing the fittings and other equipment from the site.

All full-time staff at the site will be redeployed into surrounding sites.

Mark Forsyth apologised to customers for any inconvenience the closure would cause, but noted the area was well supported with other Shell sites.

“As a Kiwi company, we have particularly loyal customers in this area and we have alternative sites around the Titirangi area for our customers, including Green Bay, Glen Eden, Rata Street and Ash Street.

“Subject to the satisfactory completion of the Z store pilot programme, it is also our intention to invest heavily in the upgrade of the Shell-branded sites in the area to both improve the customer offer and experience.”

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