The company behind Applegreen posted a €45 million pretax loss last year, as group funding costs rose following a refinancing after US private equity giant Blackstone and the forecourt retailer’s top managers took over the business.
The holding company behind Applegreen, which has about 620 sites across Ireland, the UK and US, said in the latest set of accounts, filed in recent days with the Companies Registration Office, that its financing costs for the period from December 7th, 2020, to the end of last December came to €105.5 million. Applegreen’s funding costs amounted to €81 million for the year to the end of 2020.
The increase followed an Applegreen refinancing months after it was taken private in March 2021 from the stock market in a €718 million deal that saw the company’s founder Robert Etchingham and long-standing executive Joe Barrett retain a 42.5 per cent stake in the group.
The financial statement for the holding company, known as Causeway Consortium Holdings Limited, showed that its bank loans stood at €937.8 million at the end of 2021. That was up from consolidated bank borrowings of €661.3 million at Applegreen a year earlier.
The group also raised €175 million following the takeover by issuing so-called payment-in-kind notes to its majority shareholder, Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, which carry an initial interest rate of 9 per cent.
It also paid out €67.4 million in dividends to its owners in July last year to help fund the acquisition of US assets by the shareholders.
The group’s gross profit jumped to €601.2 million for the period, according to the new report. That figure was up sharply from the €455.8 million recorded by Applegreen for 2020, during the worst of Covid-19 restrictions, and €572.1 million for 2019.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) amounted to €197 million last year.
“Going forward, the group headed by the company will need to adapt to meet the needs of an evolving consumer who has access to greater food and beverage alternatives and is less likely to drive a petrol or diesel vehicle,” the group said.
“The next stage of growth will require further capital for new site developments especially on motorway locations with major food brands and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The group is focused on identifying and capturing these opportunities, especially in the key US market.”
Applegreen’s takeover last year will increase the debt and equity capital available to the business to fund investment, it said.