Sunday 18 August 2019

Applegreen to pay €16m for stake in fuel terminal at Dublin Port

Applegreen's Joe Barrett
Applegreen's Joe Barrett
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Forecourt retailer Applegreen has agreed to pay €15.7m to buy a 50pc stake in a fuel terminal at Dublin Port.

The Joint Fuel Terminal is currently equally owned by Valero Energy (Ireland) and Esso Ireland.

It is one of three fuel importing facilities at the port.

Applegreen is acquiring Esso's stake in the terminal.

Esso Ireland was acquired by Topaz in October 2015 for €75m. At the time, Topaz was owned by businessman Denis O'Brien. Shortly after, he sold Topaz to Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard for €450m.

But as part of the deal to acquire the Esso operation, Topaz was told by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to sell the Esso stake in the Joint Fuel Terminal. The stake had been for sale since early in 2016.

Valero Energy (Ireland) is part of the US-based Valero Energy group. It markets Texaco in Ireland.

It was reported that Valero Energy was probably interested in acquiring the 50pc stake in the Joint Fuel Terminal that it didn't already own. However, that could have resulted in competition issues.

The fuel importing facilities at Dublin Port are understood to service about half of Ireland's oil market requirements.

"The proposed acquisition provides Applegreen with the facility to import fuel directly from refineries, thereby securing a strategically valuable platform that provides a competitive supply for the majority of its Irish fuel requirements," the stock market-listed company said yesterday in a statement.

It expects the acquisition - likely to be completed in the current quarter - to be earnings accretive from this year.

Applegreen floated on the stock market last year, raising almost €92m and using the proceeds to help expand its presence in Ireland and the UK.

It operates a total of 220 sites, including motorway service areas across the island of Ireland.

It also has a handful of US outlets in Long Island, and has recently inked a deal to expand the brand into Massachusetts.

In September, it reported that its first-half revenue rose 7.4pc to €556.6m, while its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), was 15pc higher at €13m.

Also in September, Applegreen's two founders - chief executive Bob Etchingham and chief operating officer Joe Barrett - sold a 7.5pc stake in the forecourt retailer for a total of €27m.

The pair continue to be major shareholders in the company. Their Malta-based B&J Holdings entity still owns 60pc of Applegreen's share capital, with Mr Etchingham owning 75pc of B&J, and Mr Barrett owning 25pc.

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