Commenting on the results, CEO Bob Etchingham said: We are pleased to report another strong set of results for the business. 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. The UKs decision to exit the EU has resulted in a weaker sterling, which has impacted on the consolidated Euro results for the company. To date this decision has had no further impact on the business.
The business maintained its rate of expansion during 2016 growing the network by 28 company owned sites and 15 dealer sites. Apart from dealer sites, the main area of network expansion was the UK with 15 additional sites including two service areas, one motorway service area (MSA) and one trunk road service area (TRSA). In addition, two petrol filling stations (PFSs) were upgraded to TRSAs.
In Ireland, eight sites were added comprising three TRSAs and five PFSs while one PFS was disposed of and one PFS was upgraded to a TRSA. In the US, an additional site was added in Long Island while five sites were taken over in New England as part of a nine-site deal with CrossAmerica Partners.
Ethingham added: We also added Freshii and, in the US, 7-Eleven as franchise partners during the year further enhancing our retail and food to go offer.
We are delighted that the quality of our sites has received strong industry recognition during the year earning several awards including the prestigious NACS Insight 2016 International Convenience Retailer of the Year Award for our Lisburn site on the M1 south of Belfast.
We continue to see opportunities for growth across our markets and have added 12 sites since the start of the year. 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 whilse mindful of the uncertainties created by the Brexit process we expect to continue to grow our operations during the year.