Maxol chief vows to keep firm in family
THE McMullan family that owns the Maxol forecourt business has no intention of either selling or floating the business, according to CEO Brian Donaldson.
"We've seen so many brands come and go," said Mr Donaldson. "Whenever I talk to the family, they see themselves as custodians for the next generation. At this stage, there is nothing in my remit other than to grow the business."
The company, which was founded by the family almost a century ago, yesterday said it intends to spend an additional €100m by 2020 on expanding and enhancing its network. Between €35m and €37m of that will be spent this year.
The investment in the chain comes after it spent €128m between 2012 and 2017 on capital investment.
There are 231 Maxol service stations on the island of Ireland, with 115 of those owned by the company. It aims to have more than 120 company-owned sites by 2020. It currently has 14 sites at various stages of the planning process.
Mr Donaldson said that Maxol's profits rose by about 15pc last year to roughly €15m, but declined to give a specific figure as the latest set of accounts for the business have not been formally signed off.
He also said that the group continues to be mindful of the continuing increase in electric and hybrid vehicles, which is a longer-term challenge facing the industry.
Maxol currently generates about 60pc of its profits from fuel and 40pc from food and other items. Mr Donaldson said the group intends to reverse those percentages in the next three to five years as food becomes the bigger earner for Maxol.
Mr Donaldson also said the group is eyeing acquisitions outside its core business.
"In terms of our core business, we see Ireland as our core market, but we're also looking at diversification on the island of Ireland into new markets, new sectors. That's taking our experience and knowledge of Ireland and looking at new opportunities for us as a business," he said.
The company has created its own coffee brand and will soon launch own-branded products such as milk, pre-pack salads, solid fuel and other items. It will be supported by a significant marketing campaign due to begin towards the end of the year.
The investments are being bankrolled from cashflow and also from continuing facilities from Bank of Ireland.