Fuel forecourt Applegreen has reported lower revenues and profits for the six months to the end of June as a result of the enforced Covid-19 lockdown in April.

Applegreen said its revenue fell by 26.6% to €1.083 billion while its gross profits were down 23.1% to €206m. 

The company said its performance in the first six months of the year was "resilient" despite the unprecedented environment where Covid-19 impacted all of its markets. 

"Encouragingly, there was a strong recovery in volumes after the initial lockdown in April and this positive momentum has carried into the third quarter," it stated.

The company – the largest fuel forecourt operator in the country and the second largest in the UK – said in order to preserve liquidity in the current environment, its board is not recommending the payment of an interim dividend.

Applegreen said that given that it is classified as an essential service provider, its sites remained open throughout the crisis, albeit some with significantly reduced food franchise offerings.

It said that as restrictions eased, the company "remobilised" and adapted its stores to allow it to reopen its food outlets in compliance with social distancing guidelines.

The company noted that April sales volumes were 57% below the previous year but improved significantly to 29% below the previous year for the month of June.

"The resilient performance of the Group was also aided by our geographic spread as lockdowns in the US were more limited than those in place in the Republic of Ireland and the UK during the period," Applegreen said.

Applegreen also said today that its estate expansion continued and it had a total of 559 sites at the end of June 2020. 

One site was added in the UK and two dealer sites were added in the Republic of Ireland during the six month period.

Bob Etchingham, Applegreen's chief executive, said the first half of 2020 has been an unprecedented period due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Etchingham said that Applegreen carried good momentum from last year and traded strongly for the first ten weeks of the year, but saw a sudden and significant impact on the business from mid-March, particularly in the motorway service areas. 

"This was most pronounced in April and May, but volumes recovered well by the end of the second quarter. To help mitigate some of this impact, the group took swift and decisive action in managing our cost base and tailoring our retail offer for changing consumer needs," the CEO said.

He said that encouragingly, this recovery has continued over the summer months with the further lifting of restrictions, government stimulus packages and the staycation trend, all of which has improved traffic volumes. 

"This performance further demonstrates the resilience of our business model and of our sector. We have learnt a lot during this crisis and are confident that we will emerge as a stronger organisation that is well positioned to benefit from future opportunities across all of our markets," he added.

Shares in the company moved higher in Dublin trade today.