Irish fuel and convenience brand Topaz Energy, which runs more than 330 forecourts including nearly 40 in Northern Ireland, has announced a €20m investment programme in its the network as it published its lastest annual accounts.

Emmet O’Neill, who took over as CEO of the company earlier this month, said the company was rolling out a €20m investment programme this year which would see a transformation of the company’s retail network across the country, and that a further investment programme next year would see the extension of the Topaz and ReStore brands across the Irish network of Esso forecourts.

O’Neill said that Topaz was hopeful that the agreed acquisition of the Esso business would close before the end of this year, subject to regulatory approval.

In its accounts, covering the year to March 31, 2014, Topaz reported a pre-tax profit before exceptional items of €2.1m on a turnover of just less than €3bn. When exceptional items of €6.9m are taken into account (mostly associated with restructuring the group’s borrowings), pre-tax losses stood at €4.7m at the end of the period compared to losses of €13.6m for the equivalent period a year earlier.

O’Neill said; “2014 was a transformative year for the Topaz business. We successfully concluded a major restructuring of the group balance sheet which saw a significant investment by shareholders (€128.5m) and a corresponding reduction in group borrowings of over €120m, which reduced group debt by approximately 85%. This has freed up the resources we need to make a really substantial investment in the business in Ireland and to ensure that we regain our leadership position in the sector here.”