Tirex Petrol to stop all its gas stations

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One of the largest gas station chains Tirex Petrol has run into serious financial problems with multimillion-dollar debts, including the state budget. It is reported that the company is forced to suspend the operation of about 80 own petrol stations. In response to a request from RISE Moldova, a beneficiary and the administrator of Tirex Petrol Alec Ignat blamed authorities for the situation, referring to the limited selling price for fuel set by ANRE (the maximum reference price for petroleum products), which resulted in the company’s cease of profiting and paying salaries. According to publicly available data, the gas station at Viaduct (Dacia Boulevard) has already been sold to competitors from Avante SRL, including filing applications with the court to initiate bankruptcy proceedings. According to the Competition Council’s confidential report on the investigation of the oil products market, published by two Moldovan TV channels, Tirex-Petrol, previously one of the three largest players in the oil products market of Moldova, had a share of 7.16% in 2019 and 7.71% in 2020. The company, which owns a network of about 80 gas stations, was bought in 2019 from the Swiss Mabanaft Moldova GmbH by Estcon Construct from Ialoveni. The price was about 10 million euros. The spouses Alec and Tatiana Ignat declared themselves the new owners, but according to RISE Moldova, among the beneficiaries in 2021 was the son of the PDM deputy secretary general, former head of the General Inspectorate of Police and former defense minister Alexandru Pinzari. In 2021, Tirex Petrol’s revenue amounted to 1.11 billion lei, which is about 10% more than in 2020. At the same time, the profit decreased 18 times, to 1.15 million lei. For comparison, Avante SRL (founded by Grigore Chiriac (50%), Valeriu Chiriac (13.33%) and Vitalie Chiriac (36.67%)) doubled its business in 2021 compared to 2020, reaching a revenue of 2.08 billion lei, and profit increased 2.5 times to 37.34 million lei. At the beginning of this year, Tirex Petrol’s financial situation turned out to be difficult, including cease of operation of about a third gas stations, and in May the company ceased operation of the whole network and no longer sells petroleum products. It should be noted that earlier in the response of Mold-Street, ANRE blamed the oil companies for the financial situation, arguing their inefficiency. At the same time, the Agency recalled that “during several public hearings on the oil products market, the representatives of the branch companies noted a very large number of retail outlets for petroleum products, which leads to an inevitable increase in the specific commercial margin.”