MRH has today (September 4) exchanged contracts to acquire Top 50 Indies dealer Chartman Retail, with completion taking place on Wednesday, September 6, as part of its strategic drive to increase its offering across the South West.

Chartman Retail, an Independent Retail Chain of the year finalist in this year’s Grocer Gold award, owns and operates one of the largest independently owned portfolios of service station forecourts in the South West of England.

The company operates 10 service stations across Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset, two of which have been shortlisted for the Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards. Each site has an on-site Spar convenience store and the company also owns one stand-alone SPAR store. Fuel is sold under three brands Esso (8 sites), Shell (1 site) and Murco (1 site).

Sustainable quality growth through acquisition and development have been key to the success of Chartman Retail, with the iconic flagship Winning Post Service Station symbolising the company’s belief that the extra investment made in design, development and operation is key to creating attractive and successful forecourts. Other sites include Bodmin, Tiverton, Bude, Lydford, Winterbourne Abbas, Ottery St Mary, Willand, Hazlegrove, and Oaklands.

The acquisition is another key milestone in achieving MRH’s strategic objectives of widening both the breadth of customer offer and locations where the MRH brand is available.

Karen Dickens, chief executive of MRH, said: “I’m delighted to add Chartman Retail to the MRH Group. Not only does it meet our strategic objective of extending our brand to more customers across the West Country, but it also has a strong personal emotional link having known many of these sites as I was growing up and subsequently travelling home to Cornwall. Chartman Retail has developed some fantastic, well-run sites and we believe they have even more potential – especially food service.

“I look forward to continuing to grow MRH in the South West, welcoming the Chartman Retail team into MRH and being an early ‘mystery motorist’ to my local site in Bude.”

Clive Sheppard, director of Chartman Retail, said: “After 30 years working to establish Chartman Retail within the South West, we are delighted to hand over to MRH, who we know will continue to support our customers. This acquisition also provides our employees with fantastic opportunities to grow their careers. Having worked with Karen for many years, we have no doubt that our customers and employees are in excellent hands.”

CTC Wholesalers, owned by John Hartshorne and Clive Sheppard, will continue its trading activity with Chartman Retail as well as supplying products into other MRH-operated sites in the future.

Paul Crocker, partner at corporate finance advisors PKF Francis Clark, said: “Since purchasing their first sites in 1990’s, Chartman has grown into one of the South West’s largest independently owned forecourt retailers. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to assist the shareholders and have secured a new owner who will continue to invest in the business to ensure it continues to prosper for many years to come.”

Corporate Finance advice was provided by Paul Crocker, Nick Tippett and Chris Bishop of PKF Francis Clark, with James Eveling, Emma Thomas and Keith Biggs from OTB Eveling acting as legal advisors to the sellers.