Applegreen motors ahead as first half sales and profits soar

Applegreen has reported a 20 per cent increase in first-half gross profit

IRISH forecourt retailer Applegreen has reported a 20 per cent uplift in gross profits in the first six months of this year to €82.2 million (£74.1m) from €68.5 million (£61.7m) in the same period last year, helped by a rebound in fuel margins as oil prices eased back.

The company, which has six sites in Northern Ireland, said its revenues also rose by 20 per cent to €672.5m (£606.2m), attributing more than 15 per cent of those sales to its operations across the island.

Applegreen chief executive Bob Etchingham founded the business 25 years ago with one station in Ballyfermot in west Dublin before floating it on the stock market in June 2015 which raised €92 million (nearly £83m at today's rates).

It entered the UK market in 2008 and followed into the US market in 2014.

The group had 275 sites in operation as of the end of June, made up of 166 sites in Ireland, 85 in the UK and 24 in the US. In the period to the end of June expanded its portfolio with 32 sites, including 11 in the Republic.

Applegreen's portfolio in Northern Ireland includes three motorway service areas (two on the M1 and the other on the M2 at Templepatrick) and three filling stations in Hillsborough, Ballymena and Coleraine.

Chief executive Bob Etchingham said Applegreen's performance was underpinned by favourable fuel margins, very strong like-for-like growth in non-fuel revenues and margins together with continued investment in the expansion of the firm.

The company has acquired a 50 per cent interest in the joint fuel terminal in Dublin Port and also announced the acquisitions of the Brandi Group in the US and the Carsley Group in the UK.

"We now have a good platform for growth in each of our three markets and are well positioned for the seasonally important second half of the year. Overall, we remain confident in the prospects for the business in 2017," Mr Etchingham said.

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