Shares in Applegreen rise more than 5pc as traffic levels recover

Shares in Applegreen rose by 5.65pc in Dublin after the forecourt firm said its business was trading ahead of Covid-19 projections for May and June.

Applegreen said performance has been helped by strong shop sales in the local petrol filling station sites, good fuel margins and "extensive" cost-saving measures. Cash balances in this part of the business at June 26 exceeded €60m, with undrawn facilities of approximately €64m, the company said.

Meanwhile, its Welcome Break subsidiary which operates 35 motorway sites, has completed a process to access additional funding, which "significantly enhances" its liquidity during the coronavirus crisis. It has moved £25m (€27.6m) of a dedicated capital expenditure facility into a revolving credit facility

Applegreen has now reopened a large number of its food and beverage offerings to meet demand as travel restrictions started to ease from last month.

Increased traffic

"Traffic volumes on the UK motorway road network are continuing to recover and current traffic flows are now back to over 65pc of 2019 volumes," Applegreen said. "We welcome the UK government's recent announcement which will see further substantial lifting of restrictions from 4 July which we expect to drive further traffic increases on the road network," it said.

At June 26, Welcome Break had more than £30m in available cash and new undrawn facilities of £25m. Analysts described yesterday's statement from Applegreen as "reassuring".

"This update underpins our positive stance on the stock at these levels," said Goodbody analyst Jason Molins. "We expect Applegreen to prove the resiliency of its model through this challenging period." Earlier this year Applegreen said it was cutting the base salaries of its executive directors by around 20pc from April 1 for three months.