Shell’s acquisition of two high-volume sites from Petrogas in a deal that saw the Applegreen retailer buy seven forecourts from Shell is proof of oil companies’ appetite to acquire “premium sites”, according to chartered surveyors the Nigel Lawrence Partnership (NLP).

In exchange for seven company-owned sites, one of which will remain Shell-branded, Petrogas handed Shell two high-throughput sites in Enfield and Corby.

Julian Haywood Smith, consultant at NLP, said: “This is a significant swap transaction in today’s difficult market, but both parties are delighted with the deal. Petrogas has acquired sites where they can see growth for their Applegreen brand in the shops, and Shell has obtained proven high-volume sites, which fit well into gaps in its UK network.

“This kind of swap deal is more complicated than a straightforward single acquisition or disposal, but indicates the continuing appetite for oil companies to acquire premium sites,” he added. “We continue to seek further opportunities of this nature, on behalf of our client.”

Of the seven sites transferred from Shell to Petrogas, four are sites which have been sub-let at the passing rentals, one is an assignment of a long leasehold interest, and the remaining two are freeholds, said Haywood Smith.

Shell’s Enfield acquisition will undergo a rebuild of the forecourt and tank farm in 2012. The Corby site was redeveloped by Petrogas in 2008.

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