Applegreen comfortable raising debt to pursue growth
Applegreen is "quite happy" to boost its current low debt levels in pursuit of acquisitions, according to CEO Bob Etchingham.
The forecourt retailer's net debt stood at just €10.2m at the end of last December, compared to €19.4m a year earlier. Its net debt to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) ratio is just 0.3 times.
Speaking to the Irish Independent as Applegreen released a strong set of full-year results, Mr Etchingham said that the group has previously indicated that it would be comfortable with a net debt-to-ebitda ratio of about two times.
"I don't think we will be staying down at those sorts of debt levels," he said in reference to the current position.
"We're quite happy to take on a bit more debt if we have an opportunity that we want to acquire.
"Our business is very fragmented - 50pc to 60pc of all the estate in all of our markets is single site," he added. "Consolidation is going on all around us."
Applegreen, which has operations in Ireland, the UK and the United States, reported a 21pc increase in revenue last year to €1.42bn, while adjusted ebitda was 24pc higher at €39.8m. It was up 26pc on a constant currency basis.
The group added 99 sites last year to bring the total to 342, and opened 77 new food outlets.