Applegreen has nearly doubled the size of its UK operation increasing its sites from 22 to 40, and is already looking for its next 10 acquisitions, according to Michael O’Loughlin, managing director of Applegreen’s brand owner Petrogas UK.

He said the acquisitions were not the result of a single deal but of several which had all been concluded in quick succession.

The biggest single deal was for 12 sites from the Co-op, with rest in ones and twos including a pair in Norwich from fellow Top 50 Indie members Lawrences Garages.

Applegreen is in 11th position in the latest Forecourt Trader Top 50 Indies, and would rise to seventh with its additional sites.

Two of the sites are in Wales, at Merthyr Tydfil and Bridgend, with the rest in England, including three within the M25 and predominantly in the southern half of the country.

O’Loughlin said that as a result of its expansion Applegreen is moving to a larger head office and recruiting additional staff.

Xmo Strata was brought in to carry out the rebranding programme for the Co-op sites, converting them from Texaco branding to Applegreen, and says it carried out the project in record time.

“A normal site rebranding will take maybe a week to ten days, depending, clearly, on the size of the site, the scope of the work, and the resources which the customer is willing to pay for,” said Xmo Strata managing director Steve Martin.

“Applegreen wanted things to move a little faster than that. At the same time they didn’t want any sacrifices in terms of safety or quality – and while they wanted good value, they were also prepared to resource the requirement.”

Sites were double-crewed, with electricians, painters and sprayers all working simultaneously. A four-day slot was allocated for each site, but with the re-branding progressing so quickly, Applegreen operations were able to bring in stock for the shop on day two, fuel on day three and some sites even opened for business on the evening of day three. Others opened on day four.

The sites – including locations in Warrington, South Wales, St Austell, Southampton, Hayling Island, across the Home Counties and within the M25 ring - were completed in three batches. A total of 16 crews were committed to the project.

Conor Lucey, developments and engineering manager for Petrogas Global, said: “Xmo Strata were very professional to work with; they overcame challenges that arose from the nature of the takeover, all the while adhering to our strict timelines. This was achieved through very good communication between Xmo Strata and Applegreen along with a strong work ethic and focus on health and safety.”

Martin said: “This was a pretty demanding project in every respect. Applegreen is a progressive and fast-moving company with high levels of professionalism and they have similar expectations of suppliers. Their progress is being closely watched by the entire industry, so it was also a high profile project.”