Business

Ascona Group targeting 100 forecourts by year end

One of the UK’ fastest growing forecourt operators, Pembroke Dock-based Ascona Group, has further expanded with the acquisition of three service stations as it targets a portfolio of 100 by year end.

The latest additions include in Carmarthenshire the Texaco branded Manordeilo Service Station in Manordeilo and a Shell-branded Forge Service Station in St Clears.

In keeping with the group’s strategy of developing a retail roadside offer, both stations will include Nisa- branded shops.

Ascona has also made its first acquisition in Somerset, with the Texaco branded Central Motors Service Station in Chard.

The acquisitions, the combined values of which haven’t been disclosed, takes its forecourt portfolio to 59.

Ascona was founded in 2011 by its chief executive Darren Briggs, a former strategy executive with Total Oil Ltd, in Pembrokeshire.

There are 5,450 independently -owned forecourts in the UK, with Ascona benefiting from significant ongoing consolidation in the sector.

While the aim is to double in size this year to 100 service stations, in five years time it is targeting 300 sites UK-wide, with investment also focused on recharging points to cater for the growing demand for electric vehicles.

Mr Briggs said: “We are delighted to add these forecourts to our expanding portfolio. We began our growth strategy in 2018 with two Ascona sites in Pembrokeshire and are glad to further strengthen our presence in the region, now operating 13 sites in total across Wales.

“To date, we operate 59 forecourts in the UK, and we are on track to achieve our ambitious goal of becoming one of the top four independent fuel retailers in the UK market.

“With these sites now part of the Ascona family, we look forward to upgrading them with our combined fuel and retail offering and serving the local communities of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Somerset.”

Ascona serves over 170,000 customers a week. It currently employs 600, of which 200 are in Wales. The business is projecting revenues this year of £200m with an operational Ebitda of £12m.

It has secured backing from Crestline Europe and Nash Business Capital to support its expansion plans.

Its business model sees it directly managing acquired sites, as it sees leasing out to other operators as “sub-optimal.” It said that through introducing Ascona’s working practices, weekly shop sales revenues have almost doubled at some acquired sites.

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