Sunday 21 October 2018

Analysis: A 'hugely satisfying' journey for founder

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John Mulligan

John Mulligan

'If you told me where I'd be now, I would not have believed you," said Bob Etchingham (64) yesterday, as he reflected on the more than 25-year journey that since 1992 has seen Applegreen become a major forecourt retailer.

"We've grown from one small service station in Ballyfermot to where we are today, and of course it's hugely satisfying," added the CEO, who had worked for 10 years with Esso before founding Applegreen.

A year later, the Wexford native was joined by Joe Barrett (52), the group's chief operations officer. Mr Barrett had held roles with Tesco and John West Foods.

It was to prove a hugely successful - and lucrative - partnership. The chain steadily expanded in Ireland before branching out to the UK and US.

It floated on the stock exchange in 2015. Mr Etchingham and Mr Barrett now own a combined 52.5pc stake in the firm, worth €258.8m. The CEO owns 39.4pc and Mr Barrett 13.1pc.

"It's been a phenomenal journey, probably helped by the fact that the industry was going through a period of very rapid change with major oil companies pulling back from the downstream retailing sector, leaving gaps for ambitious independents like us to move in and build," said Mr Etchingham.

Irish Independent

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