Z Energy has finished its massive rebranding of more than 200 service stations forecourts around the country.

The company is now halfway through refitting shops in 100 of its biggest stations, which will cost a further $23 million.

Z's chief executive Mike Bennetts said the change from the century-old Shell brand had been well received.

"We took a reasonable amount of stick last May when we announced the change, which was understandable."


Bennetts said the company had been building the Z brand through customer service rather than just new colours, a new name and a logo.

"I think we're on the verge of being able to say we've got that now."

As part of new developments, new services including faster tills - cutting transaction times from 14 seconds to 2.5 seconds - would be introduced during the coming year. Bennetts said more than 3500 people had been employed nationwide for brand rollout and refurbishment.

There are 208 Z service stations around the country and while some had been closed, or were about to close, he said that by the end of the process there would be a greater number, depending on market conditions and demographics.

The NZ Superannuation Fund and Infratil bought the Shell downstream business more than two years ago before fuel sales flattened.

Margins had improved during the past few months, Bennetts said. Z has said it had received about 2c for every litre of fuel for much of the time it has been operating.

"It's a tough time and we've been talking about returns to justify investment."

Hundreds of petrol stations had closed during the last decade, largely because of low returns, he said.