APPLEGREEN is benefiting from strong fuel margins at its forecourts despite a sharp decline in oil prices in recent weeks, according to CEO Bob Etchingham.
"Definitely, we've seen a big drop in oil prices over the last couple of months," he told analysts yesterday as the company released full-year results for 2019.
"That has fed through into our business," he added. "It has squeezed our working capital slightly, but it's also meant that we got the benefit of very significant fuel margins in each of our three markets in Q1 of this year. In fact, those margins have held up and are at quite significant levels now as we speak."
Applegreen operates hundreds of forecourts across Ireland, the UK and the United States.
"I would say if you look at our cash margin, which is the volume multiplied by the cent per litre, it's not too far off what we would normally expect it to be," said Mr Etchingham.
"The lower fuel volume is compensated by the higher cent per litre margin we're enjoying at the moment.
"That's a positive for the business in these uncertain times."
Applegreen cut its fuel prices here two weeks ago. It operates more than 200 forecourts in Ireland alone.
AA Ireland director of consumer affairs Conor Faughnan yesterday encouraged motorists to keep shopping around for fuel value.
Applegreen said its group revenue rose 53pc to €3.1bn last year. Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were up 141pc at €140.4m. The group has temporarily laid off 4,800 staff around Ireland and the UK.