Topaz aims to stretch lead over rivals with 24-hour motorway station

Ireland’s biggest fuel forecourt supplier Topaz has moved to cement its position as market share leader by announcing plans to open a 24-hour motorway service station on the Cork to Dublin motorway.

Owned by Canadian company Couche-Tard since early 2016, Topaz remains ahead of rivals such as publicly-owned Applegreen, which has around 15% of the fuel market share, and Maxol, which declined to reveal its market share.

Topaz, which has an estimated 35% fuel market share in the Republic, will open the new station at junction 14 on the M8 near Fermoy in Cork.

It will open another at junction 5 on the M9 near Rathcrogue in Carlow. Both will be serviced with McDonald’s restaurants.

The Fermoy development is due to open in autumn 2017 and will be just off the junction near Teagasc at Moorepark West. Between the Fermoy and Carlow developments, the company will invest €14m, while McDonald’s will invest €2m.

Between the Fermoy and Carlow developments, the company will invest €14m, while McDonald’s will invest €2m.

Topaz said it would create 230 jobs in conjunction with McDonald’s across the two motorway service areas.

There have long been calls from commuters for a service station along the busy Fermoy junction because of the lack of options for motorists until they get to Leinster.

There has been a frenzy of activity by the various companies in the past year as they attempt to increase their market share, with Topaz, Applegreen, Maxol and others opening new fore and food courts.

Food and drink offerings are now seen as vital to stay in touch with direct competition and global names such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway and Costa Coffee, as well as Irish outlets Supermac’s, O’Brien’s Sandwich cafe and Abrekebabra, have partnered with the fuel operators to offer more choice to consumers.

There has also been speculation Canadian fuel giant Irving Oil, which owns Ireland’s only oil refinery at Whitegate in Co Cork, could enter the Irish fuel forecourt business. 

Irving owns around 800 fuel forecourts in Canada and upon its takeover of Whitegate last August, the company did not rule out entering the Irish market.

Topaz has 438 stations across Ireland, including its recently acquired Esso station network, with 160 owned by Topaz and 278 by dealers.

Applegreen, which has 330 sites, reached a deal in January to pay €15.7m for a 50% stake in the Joint Fuels Terminal in Dublin Port, which it says will allow it to import fuel directly from refineries.

Maxol, Irish owned since 1919, has over 230 stations.


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