Applegreen 'cautious' over US expansion plans
Management at forecourt retailer Applegreen, which has four premises in Northern Ireland, has said it will make a decision next year about future plans for the company's business in the US, according to chief executive Bob Etchingham.
Applegreen, whose primary business is in Ireland and the UK, revealed that it had secured a lease on nine additional sites in the US that will stretch its American presence into Massachusetts. It has also signed a franchise agreement with retailer 7-Eleven.
The company now has six forecourts in Long Island in New York, and four of the sites in Massachusetts have been taken over since the end of June.
The firm has leased the sites from CrossAmerica Partners, a wholesale distributor of motor fuels and lessor forecourts for fuel retailers across the north-eastern US.
Mr Etchingham said Applegreen operations in the US were breaking even and not consuming much management time.
"We're still in learning mode in the US," he added.
"We're still developing relationships. We do want to continue to develop there, but we're doing it in a very measured and cautious fashion.
"We will look to make a decision as to whether we push on in the United States, probably sometime in the first half of 2017."
He was speaking as Applegreen reported a 7.4% rise in revenue to €556m (£465m) during the first half of the year, while adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was 15% higher at €13m (£11m). The results were in line with analyst expectations.