Applegreen jumps as it agrees deal to go private

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Applegreen PLC (LON:APGN) shares rose on Tuesday as the company revealed that it has agreed a takeover deal with a consortium led by B&J Holdings Limited and Blackstone Infrastructure Partners.

The AIM-listed Irish petrol station operator said it will recommend investors accept the cash offer of €5.75 (523p) per share, a 3.6% premium to its closing price on Monday, which values the company in total at around €718.1mln (£653.1mln).

READ: Applegreen says summer trading ahead of expectations but swings to interim loss

“Over recent years, Applegreen has expanded operations to develop an enviable position as a leading roadside convenience retailer across Ireland, the UK and the US, combining a unique customer proposition with an effective business model to increase resilient non-fuel revenues. The business has significant scope to further expand its footprint, which we believe will be best achieved in the private arena where the group can benefit from the experience and capital of Blackstone as its partner, whilst maintaining the management and wider team which have driven the business forward to date”, Applegreen chairman Daniel Kitchen said in a statement.

“The independent board is unanimously recommending the offer … as it represents a compelling opportunity for independent shareholders to realise their investment in cash in the near term, and is at a significant premium to the prevailing share price. Importantly, this offer reflects the potential in the Applegreen business for future growth and is an endorsement of the significant achievements over recent years and the hard work put in by all Applegreen employees, for which I am extremely grateful”, he added.

B&J is owned by Applegreen’s founders, Robert Etchingham and Joseph Barrett, who through the firm already control around 41.3% of the company’s shares.

“Over the last 28 years Applegreen has gone through many changes to become a major roadside retail business today with 559 locations across Ireland, the UK and the United States. This growth is a testament to the employees and the strong culture within Applegreen that have enabled us to identify and pursue attractive investment opportunities”, Etchingham and Barrett said.

“Looking forward, Applegreen will transition its business through capital intensive highway projects and electric vehicle charging infrastructure to meet the needs of an evolving consumer. We believe private ownership is the appropriate structure for this transition and that in Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, with its long-term focus and its significant ability to accelerate our growth, we have found the right partner for the next stage of the Applegreen journey”, the founders added.

Shares in Applegreen rose 1% to 510p in early deals.

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