Irish retailer Top Oil bought by Canadian giant

Canadian multinational Irving Oil has agreed to buy the company behind Irish fuel business Top Oil. The Reihill family is selling the company, known as the Tedcastle Group, for an undisclosed sum.

Top Oil has petrol station and aviation fuel businesses and is also a supplier of home heating oil. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval from the Republic's competition and consumer protection commission.

Irving acquired Ireland's only oil refinery - located in Whitegate in Cork - in 2016. It said the deal would "ultimately enable Irving Oil to further expand its business across the Atlantic basin". Irving chairman Arthur Irving said: "This is a great day for our company. We are proud to be doing business in Ireland and are looking forward to working with everyone at Top Oil.

We're excited about the future." Irving said the Top Oil brand would be maintained, as would the existing workforce. Top Oil has a terminal at Dublin Port, 20 inland oil depots and 200 dealer and company-owned forecourts.

The petrol station business is particularly competitive in Ireland with Top Oil up against firms like listed company Applegreen, US giant Valero which owns Texaco, the long-established brand Maxol, and Canadian business Couche Tard, which has recently bought Topaz and re-branded it as Circle K.

Both Applegreen and Topaz have spoken about plans to diversify their offerings with more and more of a focus on food, which tends to be a higher-margin business than fuel. Top Oil will also face a challenge as society seeks to shift away from oil towards cleaner sources of fuel.

Ian Whitcomb, president of Irving Oil, said: "We have worked hard to build strong customer relationships and establish meaningful community partnerships in Ireland and are delighted to continue to grow our business in this area. It's a natural fit for us."