The Irish Times Business Person of the Month: Robert Etchingham

Applegreen founder and chief executive was successful in takeover bid

Applegreen founder and chief executive Robert Etchingham has been chosen as The Irish Times Business Person of the Month for December.

It was announced that Mr Etchingham and Applegreen's chief operating officer Joseph Barrett, who owned 41.3 per cent of the company between them, had joined forces with an arm of US investment giant Blackstone to plot a takeover bid valuing the Irish forecourt retailer at almost €694 million.

The deal has since gone through, with Applegreen’s shares delisted from the stock market.

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The proposed offer of €5.75 per share marked a 48 per cent premium to Applegreen’s closing price before the bid was announced and was 50 per cent above the price at which the company floated on the stock market in June 2015, a process also led by Mr Etchingham.

Since IPO, Applegreen has seen its number of sites treble to more than 550. In September 2020, Applegreen said it was part of a consortium that had been awarded a contract to develop 27 motorway service areas along the 917km New York State Thruway.

In explaining the rational for the deal, Mr Etchingham said private ownership was the appropriate structure for the company’s transition towards motorway service areas and electric charging points, and that Blackstone’s involvement would help accelerate its growth.