Applegreen Acquires Majority Holding In Major UK Service Area Provider

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Applegreen Acquires Majority Holding In Major UK Service Area Provider

Forecourt retailer Applegreen has announced it has acquired a majority holding in Welcome Break, a UK motorway service group, for €361.8 million.

Applegreen said that it has entered into agreement with NIBC European Infrastructure Fund to acquire its entire 55.02% holding in Welcome Break.

The Ireland-based forecourt operator has also entered into a separate agreement with Welcome Break Investors II LP, a limited partnership that holds the remaining 45% of the company.

Through these agreements, Applegreen says that it will be able to obtain 'greater operational influence over Welcome Break'.

Welcome Break operates some 24 motorway service stations across the UK, as well as two trunk road services and 29 hotels, including 22 Days Inn and seven Ramada hotels.


Fantastic Opportunity

"Welcome Break is a fantastic business, it has led the way in providing the very best food and beverage facilities on the UK motorways," said Bob Etchingham, CEO of Applegreen.

"We were attracted to Welcome Break because of the strength of its franchise, the excellent management team and the committed staff at each of its 35 locations. We look forward to continuing to grow the Welcome Break business and to offering the c. 85 million customers who visit Welcome Break each year the very best experience on UK motorways."

In a statement announcing the deal, Applegreen said that it believed Welcome Break to be a 'well-regarded brand with a long and successful track record and has a high-quality portfolio of food and retail offerings.

'Welcome Break generates robust and consistent cashflows with high traffic volumes and strong margins particularly in its food business.'


Transformational Transaction

Commenting on the transaction, Darren Kyte, managing director of NIBC Infrastructure Partners and chairman of Welcome Break Group said, ""This is a transformational transaction in the UK MSA sector, and I am sure that the combination of the Applegreen Service Area operations in the UK with those of Welcome Break, and combined management capabilities will help build further upon the consistent and strong earnings growth seen by both businesses over the past decade."

Applegreen said that the transaction constitutes a 'reverse takeover' of the company under the ESM and AIM Rules and requires shareholder approval and the publication of an AIM and ESM Admission Document.

Trading in Applegreen shares has been suspended on the AIM Market of the London Stock Exchange and the ESM Market of Euronext Dublin with immediate effect until the Admission Document has been published.

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.


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