Fuel forecourt and service station operator Applegreen has reported a 55% increase in gross profits for the 12 months to December as its revenues grew by almost 41%.

Applegreen said its gross profit for the year came to €282.3m, while its revenues hit €2.012 billion from €1,428 billion the previous year.

The company said its adjusted profit before tax for 2018 rose by 14.6% to €28.3m from €24.7m the previous year.

Applegreen's Board has proposed a final dividend of 0.91 cent per share, up from 0.80 cent per share in 2017. 

The company's chief executive Bob Etchingham said Applegreen's performance was driven by ongoing expansion of its estate, positive like for like growth despite weather related disruption and strong fuel margin performance, particularly in the fourth quarter of the year.

Bob Etchingham said the deal for the second largest UK motorway service area operator, Welcome Break, was transformational for the company and gives it an "excellent" platform to develop its service area business in the UK market.

"The Applegreen business continued to expand in each of our three markets as we increased our estate by 130 sites to a total of 472 locations," the CEO said.

The company opened 16 new sites in the Republic of Ireland, 61 in the UK (including 43 acquired Welcome Break sites) and 53 in the US during the 12 month period. 

"Trading conditions remain generally good despite uncertainty caused by macro events. We anticipate another year of robust growth for the business," Mr Etchingham said. 

"Our primary focus will be on the integration of Welcome Break and further reducing leverage but we will also continue to evaluate new opportunities to further expand the business in the future," he added.