Petrogas is planning to expand its operations in the UK and buy at least 100 petrol stations over the next five years. The company, which operates the Applegreen chain of forecourts and currently has about 50 sites in Ireland, is actively looking for potential sites, and expects the UK to play a vital role its growth.

Joe Barrett, Petrogas director, said: “We’ve already got seven sites in the UK and we’re now keen to expand further. We’ve got our eye on a couple of sites.

“In Ireland, we tend to buy from individuals who run petrol stations, and who are keen to sell because they don’t want to get further into the retail environment. We can buy or lease. We see ourselves being a lot bigger in Britain than we are in Ireland, at least double the size within about five years.”

Barrett said the company aimed to buy about ten sites in the next year, and continue its expansion from there. It is initially looking to buy in areas near its current UK sites, which are based north of London and south of Birmingham, but Barrett said it was “willing to travel a bit further afield” if the right property came on the market.