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Applegreen (APGN) has made its first major foray in to the United States’ Mid-West.

It has conditionally agreed the acquisition of 46 petrol forecourt sites in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

It will enter into an initial 10-year lease agreement with Leigh Gas Wholesale, CrossAmercia Partners (CAP) and their affiliates.

All the sites include convenience store operations.

The deal is expected to complete in the third quarter of this year and includes extension options to enable “low-risk” expansion.

Applegreen’s existing management team based in the north-east US will manage the operations with the help of extra operational and finance personnel to enable integration.

Bob Etchingham, Applegreen chief executive, said: “Following significant acquisitions on the east coast of the USA in the past two years, we are delighted to announce our first major acquisition in the Mid-West.

“We consider this group of sites to be a good fit for our business given the convenience of its locations centred in the large metropolitan area of Minneapolis-St. Paul and we are happy to expand on our existing relationship with CAP in the USA.

“We believe that this acquisition represents an opportunity to establish a significant presence in another market in the USA while leveraging our existing management and operational capabilities.”

Morning update

Tesco (TSCO) hosts an environmental, social and governance event for investors and analysts today at its head office in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

It will outline how it is are embedding sustainability into its business model and how it manages current and future environmental, social and governance risks.

The event will include presentations and Q&A led by the executive and wider management team. The event will begin at 9.00am and is expected to conclude at around 1.30pm.

McBride (MCB) has announced the appointment of Jeffrey Nodland as a non-executive director with immediate effect.

Nodland has extensive experience in consumer chemicals manufacturing businesses including both private label and contract manufacturing activities.

He was most recently president and chief executive of KIK Custom Products, one of North America’s largest independent manufacturers of consumer packaged goods, where between February 2008 and January 2019 he led the turnaround and growth of the business both organically and via acquisition.

Nodland previously held senior positions at speciality chemical businesses including Hexion Speciality Chemicals, Inc., McWhorter Technologies and The Valspar Corporation, with responsibility for activities at a number of speciality chemical plants in western and central Europe, including the UK, Belgium, Italy and Germany.

He is currently an independent non-executive director of EcoSynthetix, a developer and manufacturer of bio-based polymers for the wood composite and paper industry, which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and a board member of Augsburg University, Minneapolis. He is a US citizen.

He will become a member of the Nomination, Remuneration and Audit Committees.

John Coleman, Chairman of McBride, said: “We are delighted that Jeff has agreed to join us at McBride. His extensive experience in the household and personal care industry as well as private label and contract manufacturing will bring additional relevant experience to McBride and prove invaluable to the board in our future discussions.”

Wynnstay Group (WYN) has posted half-year pre-tax profit down from £4.9m to £4.1m on revenue up from £218.5m to £260.6m – largely attributable to commodity price inflation.

Gareth Davies, chief executive, said the combination of abnormally warm weather, which reduced feed demand during traditionally important months, and more cautious spending patterns by farmers in reaction to a softening in farm gate prices and Brexit uncertainties, created challenges for the agricultural supplies sector.

“Wynnstay’s results reflect this. We continued investing in our manufacturing and production plants, and have also expanded our farming customer base, strengthening our presence in the South West with an acquisition.”

Jim McCarthy, chairman, said Wynnstay’s long-term prospects within the industry remained strong, and at this stage of the financial year, the board’s expectations for the full year outcome remained unchanged.

The half-year saw the business strengthen its presence in the South West. It completed the acquisition of Stanton Farm Supplies, which mainly focuses on products for the dairy sector.

The business services farmers in Avon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire, and its van-based delivery model complements the group’s route to market.

McCarthy said Wynnstay’s balanced business model continued to be beneficial because it offered a hedge that smoothed sector variation.

PureCircle (PURE) has made an application to the UK Listing Authority and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) for a block listing of 212,000 ordinary shares of US$0.10 each in relation to the company’s long-term incentive plan 2017.

When issued the shares will rank pari passu with the existing issued shares of the company, it said.

It is expected that the shares will be admitted to the Official List and to trading on the LSE on or around 1 July 2019.

Magnit (MGNT), one of Russia’s leading retailers has announced Jan Dunning, president, will also assume the role of chief executive and continue to serve as deputy chairman.

He will take over the CEO role from Olga Naumova who has decided to leave because of “disagreements” with the directors about strategy.

Charles Ryan, chairman, said Naumova joined the company in May 2018 to manage its transformation to emerge as a leader of the modern retail market In Russia.

“The results of her professional contribution to Magnit will serve as a solid foundation to build on going forward.”

The company had to continue building a unified high-performing team, achieve operational excellence and further financial discipline while delivering a winning customer value proposition to successfully implement the turnaround strategy.

“I am sure that with Jan’s vast experience and leadership we will continue to successfully implement our transformation program and achieve the ambitious goals we have set ourselves”.

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 fell 0.1% in early trading to 7,412.7pts.

Early risers include McColl’s Retail Group (MCLS), up 1.2% at 68p, Sainsbury’s, up 0.4% at 188.6p, WH Smith (SWMH), up 0.3% at 1,910p, and McBride (MCB), up 0.3% at 77.4p.

Fallers so far today include Greggs (GRG), down 1.1% at 2,260p, Hilton Food Group (HFG), down 1% at 931p, PZ Cussons, off 0.9% at 212p and PureCircle (PURE), down 0.9% at 240p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 closed up yesterday 0.8% at 7,422.43.

Grocers were the largest contributors to the fastest pace of volume declines since March 2009 in the year to June, the latest Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Distributive Trades survey shows.

The survey of 88 firms, including 45 retailers, judged sales for the time of year to be below average, although to a lesser degree than in May.

Internet sales across the retail sector stalled in the year to June, marking the weakest growth since the question was first introduced to the survey in 2009. Internet sales growth is expected to pick up next month, albeit at a pace well below the long-run average.

Sixteen per cent of retailers said that sales volumes were up in June on a year ago, while 58% said they were down, giving a weighted balance of minus 42%.

Sixteen per cent of respondents expect sales volumes to increase next month, while 27% expect a decrease, giving a balance of minus 11%.

Fifteen per cent of retailers placed more orders with suppliers than they did a year ago, whilst 48% placed fewer orders, giving a balance of minus 33%.

Some 26% of retailers reported that their volume of sales for the time of year were good, while 45% said they were poor, giving a balance of minus 19%.

Internet sales were broadly flat on a year ago (+3%), following growth in the previous month (+38%). Internet sales growth is expected to pick up in the year to July (+23%), but remain weaker than the long-run average (+46%).

Thirty-one per cent of wholesalers reported sales volumes were up on last year, and 22% said they were down, giving a balance of +9%. Volumes are expected to fall slightly next month (minus 4%)

Alpesh Paleja, CBI principal economist said: “This month’s drop in sales should be taken with a pinch of salt, given the backdrop of last June’s heatwave and the start of the World Cup.

“But even accounting for both factors, underlying conditions on the high street remain challenging. Retailers are having to continually compete for the attention of value-conscious shoppers, in the age of digital disruption.

“The new prime minister must help support retailers by reducing the high cumulative burden of costs they face. This should start by urgently reviewing the dire business rates system, which is unfairly impacting UK high streets and deterring much needed investment.”

Yesterday’s fallers included Nichols (NICL), down 3.7% to 1,705p, PZ Cussons (PZC), down 3.6% at 214p, Majestic WINE (WINE), off 3% at 258p and McColl’s Retail Group, fell 1.75% to 67.2p.

Stocks on the up included DS Smith (SMDS), up 3% to 356.2p, Applegreen (APGN), up 2.5% to 467.5p, Wynnstay Group (WYN), up 2.4% to 320p ahead of today’s half-year results, and Devro (DVO) up 1.5% to 205.5p.