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    Harrison Drury advises on petrol forecourts deal

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    The corporate team at Harrison Drury has advised on a major deal which has seen a family-owned petrol station business with six sites in Cumbria purchased by a large national operator.

    Auk Investments has been sold to Motor Fuel Group (MFG) for an undisclosed sum. MFG operates more than 900 sites across the UK and the deal will allow the company to gain a foothold in the Lake District.

    We advised the shareholders of AUK Investments on the legal aspects of the deal. Our deal team included corporate solicitors Jack Stephenson and Kerry Southworth. Naomi Fell, a director in our commercial property team led on all property aspects of the transaction. Senior associate solicitor Kate Shawcross advised on employment law matters. Accountancy and advisory firm MHA Moore and Smalley also advised AUK.

    Auk Investments reported a turnover of £27m for the year to March 2020 and is managed by siblings Angus, Marcus and Simon Hockings.

    Simon Hockings, managing director, Auk Investments, said: “My brothers and I have operated our filling station business in the Lake District for many years after Dad bought his first site in the 1970s.

    “I think we have done him proud but times are changing quickly in the industry and we felt it was the right time to move on. We are pleased to be handing the sites over to Motor Fuel Group, their stewardship will bring further investment including addressing the growth of electric vehicles. We wish them all the very best.”

    Simon is also director of bicycle retail and hire company Biketreks which operates two sites in Cumbria. The company’s Ings site is based at one of Auk Investments’s petrol station sites and the company will continue to operate at the site.

    Simon added: “We would like to thank our professional advisors who have helped get this deal over the line. We will continue to work with both MHA Moore and Smalley and Harrison Drury to grow our remaining property and cycling related interests.”

    This acquisition brings the total number of stations operated by MFG to 911.

    William Bannister, chief executive, MFG said: “AUK is a well-respected family business in the Lake District. The six stations that we have purchased from them give us the opportunity to extend our network coverage into Cumbria in what is normally, a thriving tourist area.”

    “We have acquired three BP branded and three Shell branded stations and we will, in-line with our standard business model, improve the shop offer for customers and introduce a ‘food to go’ option where appropriate to help ensure the sites become a destination for both the local community and visiting tourists.”


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