Food and fuel firms renew alliance in fresh £425m deal

Announcing the alliance at Glenabbey service station are (from left) Maxol Group chief executive Brian Donaldson and Henderson Group's chief financial officer Ron Whitten and sales and marketing director Paddy Doody. Picture: Kelvin Boyes/PressEye
Gary McDonald Business Editor

FORECOURT convenience retailer Maxol has renewed its long-standing partnership with Henderson Group, which owns the Spar franchise in Northern Ireland, in a deal the two family-owned businesses say is worth £425 million over five years.

Under the terms of the alliance, Maxol will supply fuel under its own brand to 30 Henderson Group-owned service stations, while Henderson will continue to supply 24 Maxol service stations under the Spar brand.

The two businesses - which have a combined turnover of £1.5 billion and employ more than 5,000 people - first announced their partnership in 2009.

And the renewal of the arrangement, which is one of the biggest collaborations in the north, will be effective until 2025.

Maxol will also introduce Spar dailyDeli at six new sites by the end of next April, including Glenabbey, Townparks in Antrim, Eglinton, Scarva Road in Banbridge, Portrush and Saintfield.

Maxol will also invest in Henderson’s on-the-go coffee brand as new Barista Bar coffee equipment will be installed at each of their 24 company-owned sites, and further in store refreshes are planned over the next two years at 15 locations across the north.

Maxol Group chief executive Brian Donaldson said: “This contract renewal demonstrates the great strength of our long-term relationship and the success of our partnership with the Henderson Group.

"As a fourth generation family-owned business it means we are able to deliver on our commitment to supporting local producers and to providing our customers with quality, choice, value and convenience, whether that’s with every-day fresh ingredients to cook at home or being able to enjoy food on the go with meals that have been freshly prepared on site.

"This announcement marks a milestone in an enduring alliance that continues to benefit our independent retailers and customers right across Northern Ireland and we look forward to continuing to build on our success.”

Paddy Doody, sales and marketing director at Henderson Group, said: “We have enjoyed a strong strategic partnership with Maxol which has brought huge benefits to both brands over the past 11 years.

“As two locally owned, family run businesses, we’re proud to collaborate and bring further opportunities to our network of retailers across Northern Ireland.

“Barista Bar and dailyDeli are two of our most popular services and we’re excited to see this partnership facilitate their growth even further throughout the local towns and communities in which we operate.”

Maxol Group, which celebrates its centenary this year, had sales of €655m (£605m) last year, and has a network of 234 service stations across Ireland, of which 112 are company owned.

The Mallusk-based food giant Henderson Group, which is made up of four indigenous divisions (wholesale, retail, property and foodservice),is due to publish its 2019 results later this month, but in the previous 12 months increased its turnover by nearly £100m to £853m.

The group, whose retail division owns and operates 96 Spar and EuroSpar stores in Northern Ireland, currently has more than 4,000 employees on its books.

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