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Alchemy exits Petrol Express

Alchemy Partners has sold its interest in Petrol Express in a secondary buyout transaction to Middelsex Holdings, a holding company for subsidiaries involved in metal trading and providing support services to natural resource industries and financial services, principally in the Commonwealth of Independent States, and to Eastern European Income Fund. The amount was not disclosed however, Middlesex Holdings acquired a 25 per cent stake in the business and Eastern European Income Fund acquired 55 per cent plus the entire redeemable preference share capital of Petrol Express.

Alchemy Partners’ Alchemy Investment Plan invested GBP3 million in the GBP6.65 million management buy-in of Thames Rico Service Stations, which was renamed Petrol Express, from Thames Fuel Holdings in August 1997. The following January Alchemy Investment Plan supported the GBP12.8 million acquisition of a national portfolio of 51 forecourts from Oakstead Holdings. The Plan committed GBP3.2 million equity to support this acquisition. In January 1999, 14 sites were acquired from Shell for GBP15 million.

With these acquisitions Petrol Express secured long-term supply contacts with leading oil majors Esso and Texaco and entered into a forecourt retailing arrangement with Londis. Petrol Express’ revenues for the financial year ending August 2000 were GBP132 million and operating profit was GBP2 million.