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Forecourt giant EG Group has delivered “a highly resilient” performance in 2022 despite the challenging macro-economic environment.

Alongside a full-year trading update, the group also announced a $1.5bn sale and leaseback on a portfolio of sites on the east coast of the US to help reduce its mountain of debt.

This portfolio – which EG America will continue to operate and trade – comprises 415 store assets under the Cumberland Farms, Fastrac, Tom Thumb and Sprint banners. It represented about 15% of the group’s total freehold property around the world.

EG will pay initial rent of $103m a year for the assets sold and the deal was in line with management’s commitment to reduce total net leverage through debt reduction and free cashflow generation, EG said in the statement.

Zuber Issa, co-founder and co-CEO of EG Group, added: “Today’s announcement demonstrates the progress we continue to make to put in place a robust capital structure for the medium term that will underpin our long-term strategy and represents an important first step in this process.”

EBITDA rose 1.9% in the year to $1.5bn at the group as revenues increased 25.1% to $33bn in 2022, driven by recent acquisitions, including bakery chain Cooplands, 52 KFC sites in the UK and additional forecourts and c-stores in the US.

The group ended the year with a portfolio of 6,612 sites around the world, with the increase primarily driven by its completed acquisition from OMV of 285 forecourts in southern Germany in May 2022.

The group said the grocery division delivered “a solid performance” in the year as it opened its 100th Asda on the Move c-store.

“In 2022, we delivered a highly resilient performance, despite macro-economic headwinds,” Issa said.

“We continued to expand our successful foodservice business through disciplined investment in our unparalleled offering and ongoing innovation across proprietary and popular third-party brands.

“The grocery and merchandise business also performed well in 2022 and customers continue to respond positively to our converted Asda on the Move convenience stores.

“We again made good progress in fuel against a highly competitive backdrop across our markets, and are encouraged by our ongoing trial of ultra-fast chargers and infrastructure, EVPoint, in the UK, as part of our energy transition plans to lower-carbon fuels.”

In the fourth quarter, EG reported a 15% fall in EBITDA to $303m, primarily a result of currency headwinds, while revenues grew 14.2% to $8bn.

“Looking ahead, we remain confident that EG is well-positioned to continue to outperform the wider market and execute on our strategic objectives,” Issa added. “I would also like to thank our colleagues for their dedication, hard work and resilience over the past year.”

Morning update

The FTSE 100 plunged 2% to 7,725.12pts this morning on fears over the health of US banks.

Early fallers in food and drink included HelloFresh again, down 5.7% to €18.41, Nichols, down 5% to 1.050p, and Kerry Group, down 4% to €90.66.

McBride was the only riser of note first thing, up 1.8% to 27.4p, while AG Barr was up 0.2% to 531p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 tumbled another 0.6% to 7,879.98pts yesterday.

Domino’s Pizza Group plunged 9% to 260p after it gave weak profit guidance for 2023 in its 2022 annual results. Investors are pessimistic about the company’s ability to attract cash-strapped customers.

NWF Group, the specialist distributor of fuel, food and feed across the UK, registered a 7.6% jump to 277.5p after significantly upgrading its profit forecasts for the year.

Elsewhere, fallers included McBride, THG and DS Smith, down 7.1% to 26.2p, 4.9% to 63p and 4.6% to 327.5p respectively.

And risers included Deliveroo, up 4.6% thanks to a ratings upgrade by Credit Suisse, Hotel Chocolat, up 2% to 206p, Nichols, up 2.3% to 1,105p, and Virgin Wines UK, up 1.6% to 49.3p.