Friday 18 October 2019

Deli rat fails to dent Applegreen share surge after first half results

Applegreen COO Joe Barrett. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Applegreen COO Joe Barrett. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Forecourt operator Applegreen stunned the markets with the strength of its financial results yesterday.

Shares surged almost 10pc to €5.68 each. The Irish company now operates here, in the UK and across four different markets in the US and has increased the size of its estate by around a third since June 2018 to 483 outlets.

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Further expansion including in the US is already in train.

Like-for-like sales growth as well as expansions boosted results. The stellar first half results were marred however in its home market when footage emerged on social media of a rat escaping from a sliced pan wrapper, believed to be at an outlet in Cherry Orchard, Dublin, a day ahead of the results.

Management were "shocked and surprised" and shut the site immediately, COO Joe Barrett said. "We are not reopening until we are 100pc happy," he said.

Applegreen revenue across the group increased 73pc to €1.48bn in the first half of 2019 versus the same period last year. Gross profits in the period were up 145pc to €268m.

In Ireland and the UK, Brexit is a potential challenge but the business has done what it can to prepare for a potential no-deal CEO Bob Etchingham said.

"Fuel (supply cross-Border) won't be an issue," he said, and relatively little of its fresh products come via the UK. Applegreen said it has been working with suppliers to identify supply chain risk and alternatives.

In the US, Applegreen operates in South Carolina, Florida, New England and the Mid-West and is starting to see synergies between those businesses as well as potential to roll European partnerships with Starbucks and KFC back into the US.

Irish Independent

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