Fuel forecourt retailer Applegreen has said its pipeline of petrol filling stations is strong as it outlined expansion plans in Ireland, the UK and the US.
Shares in Dublin rose as much as 4% as Applegreen chairman Daniel Kitchen told the company’s AGM that the trading performance of the business for the first four months of the year had been in line with the board’s expectations, adding there had been good growth in the food side of the business.
The company has added 16 sites since the beginning of 2017 made up of filling stations, dealer sites and service areas. Four petrol stations and five dealer sites have been added in Ireland, while there have been three petrol stations in the UK as well as a motorway service station in the North.
Mr Kitchen said: “Applegreen had a positive start to the 2017 financial year both in terms of trading and the development of the business. Our business in Ireland is delivering strong growth in non-fuel sales in particular while fuel margin experience has been in line with 2016. We continue to enjoy good growth in UK food sales as we expand our branded food offering.”
Applegreen is also eyeing further expansion in New England on the US East Coast, the AGM heard.
Mr Kitchen said: “We have also opened two new petrol filling sites in the New England area of the USA and have made very good progress in generating further opportunities to grow in that region. We have added to our management team to cater for the growth planned in that region.”
Applegreen signed a franchise deal last year with 7-Eleven as it moved to cement its place in the US market.
The company said it intended to to pay a maiden dividend of 1.25 cent per share in June.
Mr Kitchen said: “We committed to a prudent dividend policy at the time of our IPO and our financial performance since then warrants this move to deliver further shareholder value.”
Market analysts were positive about Applegreen’s prospects. Jason Molins of Goodbody said: “We remain positive on Applegreen following today’s statement given the group’s long-term growth potential in each of its markets, attractive cashflow characteristics, and, exposure to structural growth in the food-to-go segment.”
While Applegreen has around 15% market share in fuel in Ireland, the company has moved to increase its food offering in recent years, partnering with the likes of Subway, Burger King, Costa Coffee, Lavazza, Chopstix and Greggs.
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