Applegreen petrogas

Applegreen now has 43 sites in its portfolio

Applegreen is to pay out a dividend to shareholders for the first time since it floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2015 after profits for the year soared by 16%.

The Irish forecourt retailer made the announcement as it posted a gross profit of €145.8m for the year ending December 31 2016, up by €19.9m. Revenue also rose by 9% to €1.178bn.

Applegreen said it would pay out 1.25 cents a share, subject to approval at its agm.

The results come after the company expanded its portfolio by 43 sites to a total of 243 in the UK, Ireland and the US.

It also opened 32 new food outlets in 2016, as well as launching its new food offering, Freshii.

Applegreen said a weaker pound caused by the UK’s decision to exit the European Union had affected its consolidated euro results, but had ‘no further impact on the business’.

“We are pleased to report another strong set of results for the business,” said Applegreen CEO Bob Etchingham.

“Our food and store sales were particularly strong in the Republic of Ireland during the year while the UK had a good performance in the second six months. Fuel margin was impacted by the rising oil price and in Ireland by the rising proportion of fuel card of the total fuel volume.”

Applegreen added though the year had begun positively in regards to non-food growth sales, it was ‘mindful’ of the uncertainties created by the Brexit process. “We continue to see opportunities for growth across our markets and have added 12 sites since the start of the year,” added Etchingham.

“Our core Irish market is delivering good growth in non-fuel sales in particular, while fuel margin experience has been in line with 2016. The UK has also begun the year positively and whilst mindful of the uncertainties created by the Brexit process, we expect to continue to grow our operations during the year.”