Belfast Telegraph

Applegreen 'happy to boost debt to make acquisitions'

By John Mulligan

Applegreen, which has six sites in Northern Ireland, is "quite happy" to boost its current low debt levels in pursuit of acquisitions, according to chief executive Bob Etchingham.

The forecourt retailer's net debt stood at just €10.2m (£9m) at the end of December, compared to €19.4m a year earlier. Its net debt to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) ratio is just 0.3 times.

Speaking as Applegreen released a strong set of full-year results, Mr Etchingham said: "We're quite happy to take on a bit more debt if we have an opportunity that we want to acquire.

"Our business is very fragmented, with 50% to 60% of all the estate in all of our markets is single site. Consolidation is going on all around us."

Applegreen, which has operations in the Republic, Britain and the US, reported a 21% increase in revenue last year to €1.42bn (£1.26bn), while adjusted EBITDA was 24% higher at €39.8m (£35m). It was up 26% on a constant currency basis.

The group added 99 sites to bring the total to 342, and opened 77 new food outlets.

Belfast Telegraph

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.