Maxol will invest €100m over the next four years as part of a new growth strategy after seeing profit rise 57% last year.
Maxol announced a profit before exceptional items of €26.9m for 2021, up from €17.1m the previous year, with CEO Brian Donaldson crediting the proliferation of staycations and people working from home for the company's performance.
“The trends that emerged during the pandemic certainly provided a ‘Covid bounce,’” said Donaldson. “But it is Maxol’s long-term investment strategy that has been instrumental in driving the company’s performance in 2021 and indeed, the 2022 period to date.”
Maxol is set to increase its number of service stations in Ireland from around 236 to 250 by 2027 as part of the investment, which will cover technological efficiencies and efforts to grow food and convenience retail in addition to site acquisitions.
Donaldson has called for retail planning guidelines to be changed and outline caps on retail space to be removed and for the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme to be extended until next summer. He is also looking for the €30,000 cap to be removed to assist businesses with multiple locations.
"At the moment our sector has a cap on retail floorspace of 100m² irrespective of location. These retail planning guidelines have not been reviewed since 2012 so they’re very much out of date and our sector has changed considerably as we make the move from fuel to food," he said.
"Retail stores in other sectors have much higher caps: in Dublin the cap is at 4,000 sq m and it’s 3,500 sq m in the cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. Today we’re calling for the cap on retail space in our sector to be removed.”
Maxol has spent €87m redeveloping existing sites, introducing sustainability measures and developing its food offering since 2018, including €7m across seven sites in 2021 and €12.5m capital expenditure this year.
The company has added retail and forecourt space, indoor and outdoor seating, extra parking spaces and staff as well as proprietary coffee, food and fuel offerings across its network with the investment
Maxol, which is owned by the McMullen family, now aims to add six more Burger King drive-thrus as well as fresh food-to-go and take-home meal offerings.
Donaldson said 2023 would be challenging due to rising energy costs and their effects on consumers while adding that the company is set to enter 2023 cautiously but "with a resilient business model backed by a major investment plan.
The group is also set to reduce its carbon footprint across multiple areas of the business as part of the investment plan, with initiatives in energy-saving heating, lighting and water systems incorporating heat recovery, solar energy, and grey water harvesting.
Maxol's location at Kinnegar in Co Down is set to open the company's first dedicated EV hub in Northern Ireland next month (5 December) with five high-speed chargers to service up to six vehicles at one time.
Planning permissions for similar EV hubs in Newbridge and Ballycoolin have been submitted, and Maxol hopes to install them in 2023. The group employs some 80 people directly and more than 1,000 people through franchisees across Ireland.
Accounts for 2020 show McMullen Bros Limited, otherwise known as the Maxol Group, recorded turnover of €505.4m and held net assets of €148.8m.