Fresh from its acquisition of UK service station group Welcome Break, Irish forecourt group Applegreen warned economic headwinds and Brexit were beginning to bite.

The group, which completed its majority takeover of Welcome Break in November 2018, said trading for the first five months of 2019 had been “in line with expectations”, with its legacy business continuing to perform “strongly”.

It added that Welcome Break had been “successfully integrated”, but warned trading across its new service station portfolio had been no better than “satisfactory”. Chairman Daniel Kitchen warned of “more challenging trading conditions” so far in 2019 as “ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit has impacted on consumer sentiment”.

The group also said no new sites had been opened in the US so far this year, marking a notable slowdown from the 50 sites opened in 2018.

Applegreen shares fell back 0.4% to 460p after the announcement on Wednesday and a further 3.3% to 445p on Thursday. The shares are now down almost 20% year on year.

However, house broker Shore Capital noted the positives from a “solid” first five months of 2019. ”We believe Welcome Break has seen softer transaction number growth but with average transaction values holding up well… We expect much management focus to be on extraction of the operational and synergistic benefits from the Welcome Break acquisition.”

Elsewhere French premium spirits player Remy Cointreau beat annual sales and profits expectations as strong global demand for its more premium spirits continues to underpin growth.

The group posted annual sales growth of 7.9% to €1.22bn in the year to 31 March, boosted by 11.9% growth of its House of Rémy Martin brands thanks to strong performance in Asia, the US, UK, Middle East and travel retail.

Overall operating profit also grew 11.3% to €263.6m on a reported basis and by 14.2% on an organic basis, with management meeting its operating margin targets a year earlier than expected.

Remy also published a new mid-term outlook, predicting 60-65% of total revenues from high end $50-plus a bottle spirit sales and continued operating margin improvement driven by its value-first strategy.

However, the shares dropped 3.2% to €118.5 on Thursday despite the outperformance. Analysts at SocGen said the shares were reacting to net debt of €313m being “much worse than consensus” expectations of €288m, while its special dividend of €1 per share “probably points to the absence of near-term M&A”.