IRISH petrol station retailer Applegreen said yesterday it has made a strong start to life as a public company after reporting a 35 per cent jump in gross profits in the first half.
Applegreen made its Aim debut in June with a market value of around £220m, making it one of the biggest floats of a European company on the junior market this year.
The company, which has 175 forecourts UK, Ireland and the US, has been using the proceeds from the float to upgrade existing sites.
It has also been buying more forecourts from independent rivals as well as oil companies disposing of many of their sites to focus on their upstream operations.
Group revenue grew by 16 per cent to €517m (£379m) in the six months to 30 June after adding 23 new forecourt sites. Gross profits jumped by 35 per cent to €56.9m compared with €42.2m the previous year. UK revenue climbed 21 per cent lifting profit to €15.6m from €9.6m.
The company has been tapping into the fast-growing “food to go” market to boost footfall in its stores, with 18 new food outlets opened in the period. It sells food under its own brands as well as through franchises with chains including Burger King, Subway and Greggs.
Despite a positive first half, Applegreen’s shares slipped 2.6 per cent last night as it warned of slower growth in the second half.
Chief executive Bob Etchingham said: “Trading since the end of June has been positive and while we expect the rate of growth in the second half to be lower than the first half, we are on track to deliver results in line with market expectations.”
The company, which employs 2,600 people, netted a combined €91.7m when it floated on London’s Alternative Investment Market and Dublin’s Enterprise Securities Market in June.