We are now just over half way through this current Gulf financial year and I thought it worth reviewing this period so that everyone in the Gulf family can see what progress we have made, as I firmly believe that when we have success it is something that should be shared and communicated.

India is, of course, our biggest single Gulf business and one where we have made great strides in recent years. The Gulf brand has moved up the ranks of Oil Companies in the Indian market, under the guidance of Ravi Chawla, to become a top three oil brand, an incredible achievement in what is the fifth biggest automotive market in the world. Ravi and his team never rest on their laurels and continue to strive to improve Gulf’s business – and to great effect. In the year to date, India has made excellent progress and has posted record figures for the period. Superb – an inspiration to us all.

The Marine sector is a notoriously hard market in which to operate, yet it has been one in which Gulf Oil Marine has performed extremely well in recent years, growing rapidly and achieving some excellent results. Last year Gulf Oil Marine found the going exceptionally tough, but to quote an old maxim, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” and I am delighted to report that a revamping of their pricing structure, combined with their continued excellence of client service and their striving to succeed has led to a superb turnaround and, on this, I heartily congratulate Keith Mullin and his team.

Our volume growth in China in recent times has been truly spectacular aided, in no small part, by our partnership with Manchester United and it has now allowed our China team, headed by Arthur Liu, to make the step into fuel retailing. The opening of the first Gulf brand fuel station in China, last month (pictured), in partnership with Beibei Energy represents a landmark event for Gulf – not just in China, or in Asia, but on a global scale. Perhaps it should have come as no surprise, therefore, that as soon as the first station opened, our China team was flooded with requests from other service station owners to sign up to the Gulf brand.

Gulf’s development of its market in Argentina in recent times has also been noteworthy and has helped to contribute to a situation where our volumes are strong and, overall, our global figures are currently 8% ahead of target.

It is self-evidently a situation that bodes well for our 2018-19 year. The international economic environment, however, is more volatile at the moment than it has been for some while and the knock-on effects of possible trading restrictions and foreign exchange fluctuations could easily affect our business, so we have to ensure that we do not “take our feet off the gas pedal” and that we finish the year even stronger than we started it.

Wish you all, therefore, good health and good business.

From a distinctly autumnal London,