Seven petrol stations changed hands since 2013

Seven petrol stations were taken over by new owners between August 2013 and November 2015 during which new MEPA policy rewarded relocation of petrol pumps from urban centres with larger footprint in ODZ locations

Information provided by the Regulator for Energy and Water services shows that 2014 saw the largest number of licence transfers since 2010, when a record five licences changed hands.

2014 coincided with the public consultation on a new policy, subsequently approved this year, regulating the development of petrol stations in ODZ areas.

In submissions presented to MEPA last year the Malta Developers Association had warned that the new policy allowing existing stations in urban areas to relocate to locations outside development zones (ODZ) where they could expand to 3,000 square metres, risked raising the “artificial value” of existing fuel station licences.

The transfers include one which took place in March 2014 from Edgar Borg & Sons Limited to Luqa Developments Limited, a company owned by Ludwig Camilleri, the son of Piu Camilleri, a close aide to the late former public works minister Lorry Sant.

The transfer application is the only one specifying a relocation to a ‘new site’.  Since then Luqa Developments Limited has applied to MEPA for two fuel stations, one in Salini and one in Mdina Road.

Cassar Fuel Station Ltd has bought a licence in Lija and Tarxien while giving up another one in Ghajnsielem. 

In February 2014 Brighton Garage sold a licence for a petrol station in Floriana to Seaview and Sons Limited, the same company that owns the Pitstop petrol station in Attard.

Number of licences transferred since 2010

2010 - 5
2011 - 2
2012 - 1
2013 - 1
2014 - 4
2015 - 2

MaltaToday has already reported that a number of petrol station licences were being sold thanks to a rise in their value amid speculation that the new policy will allow larger petrol pump stations in ODZ sites.

The new MEPA policy effectively encourages the relocation of petrol pumps from urban areas, by allowing them to relocate in all ODZ sites except in areas of high landscape value, good quality agricultural land and sites of ecological importance. 

The MDA says the proposed discrimination will encourage an increase in the artificial value of existing fuel station licences. “The relocation of existing fuel stations from residential areas should be incentivised, [but MDA] feels this does not justify the proposed discrimination. To ensure that this incentive is not understood as a ‘right’ to relocate fuel service stations from a residential area to an ODZ area as is being proposed, it should be made clear that this is a concession that is given only for a time window of, say, three years.In this way, pressure is also brought upon fuel service stations in residential areas that would know that the possibility of relocation to an ODZ area is not an indefinite permanent policy that would result in an automatic increase in artificial value in the licence of such stations.”

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