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Tue 22nd Dec 2020 - Update: Deliveroo, Applegreen and Center Parcs
Deliveroo now profitable at operating level after seeing losses jump to £320m in 2019: Deliveroo has said it has been profitable at an operating level for more than six months after racking up losses of £320m in the previous financial year and coming close to collapse. The company said as well as adding 46,000 restaurants to its platform this year, taking the total to 140,000, it has expanded the number of grocery stores it works with to 1,500. It launched its delivery services in 187 new towns and cities, and is now operating in almost 800 in 12 countries around the world. It doubled the number of riders to more than 110,000. In May last year, it announced a $575m fundraising round led by Amazon, valuing it at $4bn. In April, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) provisionally cleared Amazon’s $500m investment after accepting Deliveroo would collapse without it. Deliveroo said that with regulatory clearance secured on competition grounds it planned to expand further. Its plan follows a tough 2019. While revenues were up 62% at £771.8m, its operating losses widened from £257.1m to £319.9m on higher costs and investment. However, it said that after the fundraising there was “no reasonably possible scenario which would result in the business being out of cash in the foreseeable future”. It said its long-term growth prospects remained positive. The scale of its 2019 losses forced Deliveroo to take out a loan of £198m. The provider of the short-term loan, which Deliveroo said was “extinguished” when the CMA approved the Amazon deal in August this year, was not disclosed. The company said it had £229.8m in cash and equivalents at the end of 2019, including the proceeds of the loan. The accounts also revealed Deliveroo took a £43.4m impairment charge in 2019 after it shuttered its German and Taiwanese businesses. The accounts come as the London-based company is said to be preparing for an initial public offering early next year.

Applegreen set to be sold for €718.1m: Roadside retailer Applegreen has reported it has reached agreement over a cash offer of €718.1m from a consortium including B&J Holdings and Blackstone Infrastructure Partners for the company. Under the terms of the acquisition, Applegreen shareholders will be entitled to receive €5.75 per share – a 48.2% premium to its closing price on Wednesday, 9 December, which was the day before the offer was received. B&J Holdings is a 41.3% shareholder in Applegreen and represents the holdings of Applegreen's founders, Robert Etchingham and Joseph Barrett. B&J Holdings will retain a significant equity stake in the consortium and Etchingham and Barrett will maintain their current management positions as chief executive and chief operating officer respectively within the business. Applegreen chairman Daniel Kitchen said: “Over recent years, Applegreen has expanded operations to develop an enviable position as a leading roadside convenience retailer across Ireland, the UK and the US, combining a unique customer proposition with an effective business model to increase resilient non-fuel revenues. The business has significant scope to further expand its footprint, which we believe will be best achieved in the private arena where the group can benefit from the experience and capital of Blackstone as its partner, while maintaining the management and wider team which have driven the business forward to date. The independent board is unanimously recommending the offer, as it represents a compelling opportunity for independent shareholders to realise their investment in cash in the near term, and is at a significant premium to the prevailing share price. Importantly, this offer reflects the potential in the Applegreen business for future growth and is an endorsement of the significant achievements over recent years and the hard work put in by all Applegreen employees, for which I am extremely grateful.” Sebastien Sherman, senior managing director of Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, added: “We are honoured to partner with Applegreen's visionary founders, Bob Etchingham and Joe Barrett, to continue to build Applegreen's industry-leading portfolio of roadside retail outlets in Europe and the United States. We look forward to supporting Applegreen as its team continues to innovate and expand internationally.”

Center Parcs closes UK resorts for festive period after latest lockdown news: Center Parcs, which offers 4,300 units of accommodation across five sites in the UK, has closed all its British resorts over the festive period following the latest lockdown news. Under the previous three tier system every Center Parcs in the UK was open – apart from Nottingham. However, Center Parcs said it had closed the sites “with the priority of keeping our guests and staff as safe as possible”. The decision comes after prime minister Boris Johnson announced new lockdown measures to tackle the rising covid-19 case rates, including shutting non-essential shops in tier four areas. A statement from Center Parcs said: “Following the update from the prime minister it is clear the threat of the virus with the new variant is now at an extremely delicate stage. It is therefore with a heavy heart we have made the decision to close all our UK villages from Monday, 21 December until at least 7 January, 2021. Our decisions throughout the pandemic have been with the priority of keeping our guests and staff as safe as possible. Latest government advice in all tiers is to avoid non-essential travel outside of local areas and we certainly do not wish to encourage this. We have not made this decision lightly, but there is clearly concern around the new variant being moved around the country. All guests impacted by the closure period will receive an email from us with instructions on how to cancel activities and restaurant reservations and how to reschedule with a discount to the value of £100 or cancel with a full refund.”

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