Fuel forecourt retailer Applegreen leases 42 sites in US expansion

Fuel forecourt retailer Applegreen has said Ireland and Britain remain its key focus despite acquiring 42 new petrol stations and Burger King outlets in the US, a move that significantly ramps up its US operations.

Shares in Dublin rose as much as 1.5% as the firm said it had reached agreement to acquire the trade and certain assets of Bob Brandi and Bob Brandi Stores, a forecourt retail operation based in Columbia, South Carolina, for $5.4m (€4.7m).

Applegreen said it will lease long-term from a US real estate investor who bought the property assets of the business for $70m. The deal is expected to go through by year end.

There are 42 sites located in or close to the city of Columbia, which is the state capital of South Carolina. 

Some 34 of these sites are petrol stations with 11 Burger King restaurants and a number of other food offers including Subway and Blimpie. The business operates eight standalone Burger King sites, which Applegreen will also take over.

Applegreen has added a number of stores in the Republic and the UK in recent months, while it outlined its expansion plans for the US at its AGM in May. 

The company has stations in Long Island, New York as well as New England. A spokesperson for Applegreen said despite the ambitious move into South Carolina, Ireland and the UK remained key. 

He said it was the “most significant foray into the US”, and that it was different than former acquisitions in the US which would have been made on an individual basis.

While the focus has increased in the US and has gone somewhat broader on the east coast, management would be concentrating on integrating the South Carolina acquisition into Applegreen in the near future, he said.

The current owner of the Brandi Group has committed to working with the existing management team for the first year to ensure an orderly transition of operations to Applegreen, the firm said.

Applegreen will supplement those existing resources with additional finance and personnel to ensure a successful integration of the business, it added.

Applegreen chief executive Bob Etchingham said: “We consider the Brandi Group to be an excellent fit for our business given the attraction and convenience of its locations centred in the city of Columbia.

“It also represents an ideal platform from which to further pursue our strategy for growth along the east coast of the US,” he said.

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