Fuel station firm expands

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Northumberland fuel station operator Penny Petroleum is set to expand, thanks to a £2million-plus investment package.

The seventh biggest company of its kind in the country runs 28 petrol forecourt businesses, predominantly across the North of England, employing 250 staff, but it is now set to add three more in County Durham and Tyneside, then another three or four after that.

Owner David Penny said: “The three new sites will bring our portfolio to 30 retail outlets, and I expect this to grow even further to 40 sites by the end of 2016.”

“I credit our success to our excellent business model and the ambition of our new management team.”

The company’s next three acquisitions are being funded by a loan from Santander, and Mr Penny is grateful for its support.

He said: “The funding from Santander has been vital to our growth plans, and its knowledge and understanding of the sector has been invaluable.”

Mark Rutherford, a relationship director for the bank’s corporate and commercial team, said: “Penny Petroleum is an example of a business built up by a knowledgeable, dedicated owner.

“David has grown the group into a Northern powerhouse, and his business acumen and ambition is reflected in the accolades that Penny Petroleum has received.

“We have no doubt that David, and the wider management team, will achieve their goal of becoming the largest independent operator in the sector.”

That’s an ambition Mr Penny is going full steam ahead to try to make come true, but he remains realistic about how far Penny Petroleum can expand.

“We’re now the seventh largest independent forecourt retailer in the UK, up from number 12 last year, and we’re still growing.

“Some of the companies ahead of us are very big operators, but we would hope to be able to make it into the top five or six.

“We started out 21 years ago with one site, Hedgeley Services at Powburn, and it’s grown from there and will keep growing.”