Forecourt retailer Applegreen’s CEO and founder, Bob Etchingham, has cut his combined stake in the company, alongside COO Joe Barrett, from almost 53% to 41%, according to the Irish Independent.
The publication reports that their shareholding will be worth €300 million once the equity raise is finalised.
The group has raised €175 million from new and existing investors in order to fund its majority share acquisition of UK-based Welcome Break, worth €360 million, however, the group only anticipated an equity raise of €100-€140 million.
Etchingham told the Irish Independent that there had been ”significant excess demand”, but refused to indicate how much could have been raised.
Interest in the equity raise, six of which came from pan-European investment funds, reflected the strength of the company and it’s opportunities, according to Etchingham.
Etchingham said he was happy to see the company's the number of shares held by public investors improve following the equity raise, which is due to be finalised next month.
"We're conscious of the fact that liquidity in the shares has always been a problem since we listed," he told the Irish Independent.
"There isn't a significant free float. For that reason as much as anything else, we want to keep our contribution [in the equity raise] to a lower level, but it's still a meaningful vote of confidence in the transaction.
"We've always said since we listed that as the years go by and the company gets bigger and requires more equity, we'll be diluted.
"That's what we envisaged would happen and that process I think will continue. There isn't a floor that we're going to say is the bottom and we won't go below that. It's just a matter of what the company requires."
The group recently announced that its revenues increased by 27% in the first half of 2018, according to its latest trading update.
The group’s unaudited interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2018 showed that the group brought in €854.9 million - a 30% increase on a constant currency basis.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.