Wednesday 18 September 2019

Applegreen says trading in Brexit-hit UK 'challenging'

Daniel Kitchen, chairman of Applegreen. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Daniel Kitchen, chairman of Applegreen. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Forecourt giant Applegreen said the performance of its Welcome Break business in the UK has been "satisfactory".

This is despite "more challenging trading conditions" across the water, where ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit is impacting consumer sentiment.

Last year the Irish forecourt retailer agreed to buy a 55.02pc stake in Welcome Break - which has a portfolio of 24 motorway service stations, two trunk road service areas, and 29 travel hotels under the Ramada and Days Inn brands.

Yesterday, Daniel Kitchen, chairman of Applegreen, said the management team has successfully integrated the Welcome Break business, and the group continues to progress with the delivery of synergy benefits.

Overall, the group's trading for the first five months of 2019 was "in line with expectations", according to a statement ahead of Applegreen's AGM.

The company's legacy Applegreen business is performing "strongly" year-on-year.

"We are pleased with the performance of the business in Ireland where trading conditions remain good," Mr Kitchen said.

Meanwhile, the group's business in the United States, where it has over 120 sites, is performing "well", he said, adding: "We continue to explore new opportunities in this market."

Subject to shareholder approval, the group intends to pay a final dividend of 0.91c per share later this month. This will bring the total dividend for the financial year 2018 to 1.54c per share.

In the 12 months to 31 December revenue at Applegreen increased 41pc year-on-year to €2bn, while the company's gross profit jumped 55pc to €282.3m.

Shares in Applegreen were down just over 1pc in trading yesterday.

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