Applegreen rejected private equity advance for €280m IPO
Applegreen founders Bob Etchingham and Joe Barrett rejected approaches by several private equity firms for their petrol station retail chain.
Etchingham said that private equity's short-term investment approach "was not the right fit" for Applegreen, which intends to undertake the first post-crash Irish retail IPO this summer.
The company intends to raise €70m in exchange for 25pc of the company, valuing it at €280m. Most of this will come from newly issued shares. Etchingham owns 75pc of the petrol station /retail outlet, while Barrett owns 25pc - though these stakes will be diluted by a quarter after the IPO takes place.
Barrett and Etchingham are about to embark on a roadtrip to meet institutional investors, including visits to London, Edinburgh and the US, ending in Dublin.
"Neither of us have any plans to retire," Etchingham told the Sunday Independent. "This will give us an injection of energy." Applegreen intends to use the bulk of the €70m to expand in the UK, where it has 54 outlets in the south. It wants to expand nationally. It has 96 in the Republic of Ireland and two in the US.
Applegreen follows an American approach to forecourt retailing, targeting what its calls "transumers" - consumers in transit - and dashboard diners. This means an emphasis on disposable food like dried fruit, pastries and coffee. The company will soon trial products from UK bakery giant Greggs in a Dublin outlet and may roll the brand out in all of its shops in the Republic.
"It's been very exciting. We started out in the early ninetines with just a couple of petrol stations" said Etchingham.
"Our success is partly down to our food-centred approach, particularly the early use of own-brand products. We were the first to sell eggs in four-packs - we realised petrol station retailers should be selling convenience, not groceries."
Sunday Indo Business