Shell’s all-Ireland network of 55 petrol stations, 35 fuel distribution depots and six oil-importing facilities has been bought by venture capital group Ion Equity.

The value of the deal, which was agreed after Shell recently decided to exit the business for strategic reasons, was not disclosed. The business, believed to have a turnover of around Euro1billion a year. sells oil, gas and other fuels and lubricants using its own network and also supplies a further 105

independently-owned petrol stations.

Topaz Distribution and Logistics, a special-purpose company set up by Ion to handle the deal, will take over Shell’s interest, and will be headed by Danny Murray.

Ion Equity managing director Neil O’Leary said the deal was a “fairly unusual opportunity” to buy a well-established distribution business, with huge potential and “difficult-to-replicate” infrastructure. The sites will continue to trade under the Shell brand.