Applegreen has completed the transaction which makes it the second largest motorway service area (MSA) operator in the UK.

In a Stock Exchange announcement it confirmed it had completed the deal it agreed at the beginning of August, which means it has a 50.01% controlling stake in Welcome Break.

The current Welcome Break CEO, Robbie Bell, will be departing the business on 31 December, and John Diviney, managing director of Applegreen’s UK operations, will take over management responsibility for Welcome Break, reporting to Joe Barrett, chief operating officer of the group. 

Applegreen CEO Bob Etchingham said: “We are grateful to Robbie for his support during the transaction process. He has been instrumental in providing continuity and stability to the Welcome Break business throughout this period. We wish him well with his future career and acknowledge his progressive leadership and change management abilities.”

Bell said: “The Welcome Break team should be proud of the business they have helped to build over many years. I look forward to seeing the business achieve further success under an ownership that has years of experience in the sector.”

The Stock exchange announcement also revealed that Applegreen had entered into an agreement with Arjun Infrastructure Partners (AIP) Transaction, which owns the other 49.99% of Welcome Break, to transfer “UK early stage pipeline assets” to Welcome Break.

The statement did not go into detail but the pipeline assets are believed to be MSAs planned by Applegreen. It has applied for planning permission for a site on the M1 at Rotherham, held consultations with residents about a site on the M42 at Shirley, and held discussions with the local authority about a site on the M3 in Hampshire.

In its statement Applegreen said the value ascribed to UK pipeline assets is approximately £7.6m and it will receive additional equity in Welcome Break on or before 31 December 2018 as consideration for the Additional Transfer. 

AIP has a right to invest up to approximately £7.6m into Welcome Break on or before 31 December 2018 in order to maintain its current shareholding of 49.99%.

Welcome Break operates 24 motorway service areas, two trunk road service areas and 29 hotels across 35 locations, and employs more than 5,000 people.