Coral Oil and Liquigas CEO Oscar Yamin dispels speculation on the companies’ expansion in an interview with Al Bayan Magazine. Oscar Yamin, whose family business has supported the Lebanese energy sector in time of crisis, chides the dissemination of malicious fake news amidst the country’s suffering.
The ongoing economic crisis in Lebanon has once more illustrated the resilience of the private sector against unexpected political and social downturns. It is therefore regrettable that the Coral Oil and Liquigas expansion should fall prey to counterproductive rumors, speculation and fake news at a time when these companies are striving to serve their nation.
In fact, Oscar Yamin, in recognition of the leading role Coral played during these turbulent times, was invited by the US Embassy in Beirut to present the state of the Lebanese energy sector as a key speaker at a conference organized by the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC).
Family businesses in Lebanon constitute the bulk of its private sector creating a lifeline for the country amid instability during the last few years; family businesses that opted to invest, resist and expand in their homeland holding tight to their roots and history.
Coral and Liquigas are in the core of the successful business stories that stood still believing in their homeland and expanding to meet with the rising demand on petroleum products by investing in local assets and mainly in employing Lebanese talented youth reaching a total of 800 employees in 2021.
Coral and Liquigas well established network has spurred speculations, rumors and misinformation reaching even accusation in the wake of a media system today that has become vulnerable to social media unfounded allegations and channeled false information.
In an interview, Chairman of A. Yamin Group Oscar Yamin dispels speculation and the campaigns targeting his two companies, Liquigas and Coral, which got harshly accentuated with the start of Lebanon’s economic and social crisis, and were tackled for further investigation. Oscar Yamin dispels speculation by answering several questions related to the allegations in question.
Several rumors were recently circulating in the media, especially during the last couple of years after the Coral & Liquigas expansion that the Yamin family owns the companies in partnership with politicians. Moreover, one of them was explicitly named as well. What are your comments regarding these claims of ownership?
Thank you for bringing this up since this matter needs to be clarified once and for all. My two brothers Antonio, Edgar and I have inherited the petroleum products distribution business that was started in 1964 by our father Alfred Semaan Yamin. The A. Yamin Group is a purely commercial group of companies, having no political affiliation either directly or indirectly and conducts its business in utmost transparency and in compliance with the applicable Lebanese laws and regulations, and in accordance with international regulations, directions and decisions.
My brothers and I, have started working with our father very early, during our teenage years, weekends, and school vacations and during our university studies, and have gradually expanded the business.
In 2005, our group of companies A. Yamin Group acquired Liquigas Liban SAL. In 2017, as part of its continued business expansion the Group acquired the British Company The Coral Oil Company Limited UK and its Lebanese branch which had a significant market share in the Lebanese Jet A1, diesel and gasoline distribution for over 90 years. We now serve approximately 200 Coral service gas stations in Lebanon, of which 20% are owned or directly managed by the Group and the remaining franchised.
With the Coral & Liquigas expansion, A. Yamin Group now holds a major role in the petroleum sector in Lebanon, managing alone more than one-third of the overall local petroleum storage capacity, and is currently handling a considerable market share in Lebanon.
Following our last business expansion in 2017 and in times of social and economic unrest that started in October 2019, we were startled with an organized campaign of lies, slander, and incitement targeted our companies “Liquigas” and “Coral” on social media.
In 2020, the campaign of lies and incitement intensified and became more recurrent, especially during the most challenging and unprecedented economic and social crisis that Lebanon has been enduring lately.
During this precarious period, Coral was among the few gasoline and diesel importing and distributing companies that continued its supply of those two vital products to all Lebanese regions and all economic sectors. Our ability to supply Lebanon with diesel, Jet A1, and gasoline was only possible during these times of financial challenges because of our outstanding reputation, solid network of relationships, as well as our available facilities with foreign suppliers and banks. Coral ensured the Lebanese people some social and economic safety and a sense of security in these dire times.
To answer your question rumors in social media indeed falsely attributed during these various campaigns the ownership of Coral and Liquigas companies to different political parties and certain specific politicians, that funnily enough are opposed to each other in politics and presenting contradictory agendas which leads to inaccuracy of the disseminated information and of course these attributions depended on the timing of these campaigns.
So I repeat, our Company was never implicated in political matters nor supported any particular political party. Our aim is to serve all the Lebanese people in all regions by ensuring provision of gasoline and diesel in sufficient quantities to distribution stations in all regions, hospitals, bakeries, municipalities, private generators, embassies, schools and universities to enable them to carry on with their respective duties in the absence of electricity and public transport that we currently experienced and are still experiencing.
Do you have, or can you share with us, any document supporting your arguments, which we can effectively publish?
These rumors are untrue and can be easily proven to be fake and false. It is very simple, as when one looks into the official documents of the commercial register that are openly available to the public in both the UK and in Lebanon, you would undoubtedly know who owns the company. The published information clearly shows that the entities are solely owned and controlled by their current three owners (Oscar, Edgar and Antonio Yammine) through their legal entities. My brothers and I are indeed mentioned as the sole shareholders, and all the economic rights of those shares go only to the three of us as Ultimate Beneficiary Owners.
Furthermore, the companies have issued an explanatory statement at the beginning of these campaigns and made the legal documents available on the company’s website as part of its transparency policy despite that evidence and clarifications, the ongoing publication of this fake information demonstrates the bad faith and the premeditation to damage the reputation of Coral and Liquigas and their owners.
Moreover, the company also strictly denies any transfer of its shares to any third party and any private or political party. These claims were published by those with a questionable reputation and by non-credible publishers when faced with evidence and against whom we have successfully presented many legal cases.
We can thus very confidently challenge whoever has any supporting document or documents to those utterly false and fake allegations to make them public.