Applegreen set to open new service station on the M1
Service station giants Applegreen will have a second Northern Ireland site in operation within the next four months.
It follows on from the huge success of the company's first northern venture on the motorway between Glengormley and Templepatrick.
An identical station will be built directly across from its existing premises on the northbound carriageway of the M2 and it will be open by the end of 2016.
But in the meantime Applegreen has plans to open its first M1 service station at Ballyskeagh, just outside Lisburn, in January.
There will also be an additional site on the opposite side of the M1, meaning the firm will have twin service areas on both motorways.
Area manager Matthew Scally said the company's second Northern Ireland site was currently under construction.
"Applegreen on the westbound carriageway of the M1 at Lisburn will be open by the end of January next year and the other two [on the M2 and M1] are on schedule for the end of 2016," he said.
Mr Scally also said the £6.25m facility on the M2 was continuing to do a roaring trade.
"It's performing really well and we're extremely happy with it," he said, adding that the company is now employing 120 staff - up from 75 when it first opened in April.
Applegreen stations, owned by Petrogas Global, are familiar to northern motorists travelling to and from Dublin, but the Templepatrick site was the first to begin trading on this side of the border.
It boasts several eateries - including Burger King, Subway, Chopstix and Lavazza - as well as The Bakewell, which is Applegreen's own cafe brand and the only one in Northern Ireland.
Yesterday, the petrol forecourt retailer reported a net profit of €2.7m (£1.98m) on revenue of €517.5m (£380.32m) for the six-month period to the end of June.
The results were the company's first as a stock-listed firm.
It said its like-for-like profit margin on fuel was 3% lower over the first six months of the year than in the same period of 2014 as the benefit of falling input prices was offset by dollar strength, because crude oil is traded in dollars.
Applegreen opened 23 new outlets in the UK and Ireland over the six month period and it now has 175 petrol stations in Ireland and the UK.