Applegreen reviewing ownership options for UK hotels business

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Motorway services station and fuel forecourt operator Applegreen is reviewing its UK hotels business and is assessing a number of options regarding the division’s future ownership.

Applegreen operates nearly 500 service stations across Ireland, Britain and the US and inherited 29 hotels in the UK as part of its €362m purchase of a majority stake in British motorway services operator Welcome Break last year.

Speaking after Applegreen’s AGM in Dublin, chief executive Bob Etchingham said the group would likely invest further in the hotels but is, ultimately, open to all options regarding the portfolio’s future ownership.

Mr Etchingham also said Applegreen is always on the lookout for acquisition opportunities – despite last year’s huge deal – but has nothing of note on the horizon. Any further acquisition-led expansion is likely to take place either in the UK or the US, rather than in Ireland.

At the AGM, Applegreen chairman Daniel Kitchen told shareholders that trading in the first five months of this year was “in line with expectations” and that performance in Ireland has been good.

Mr Kitchen said Welcome Break’s performance, since acquisition, has been “satisfactory” but said trading conditions in Britain have become more challenging this year with ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit impacting on consumer sentiment.

“The US business is performing well and we continue to explore new opportunities in this market,” he said.

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