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Double acquisition as Certas Energy acquires two Pembrokeshire filling stations

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CERTAS ENERGY has added two West Wales fillings stations to its growing company portfolio with the acquisition of Square & Compass and Letterson Filling Stations, both formerly owned by Roger and Anne Shackleton.

The couple have operated their Pembrokeshire forecourt business for 22 years, its two Gulf branded forecourts are integral to the local community, with large and successful convenience stores and a combined fuel volume of 5.6ml.

“We are delighted to have concluded this deal, it’s a very good fit for our business as we continue to grow our company operation across the UK,” enthuses Richard Billington, Retail Director, Certas Energy. “We already have a strong Gulf presence within Pembrokeshire and these two flagship sites will complement our thriving and expanding Dealer operation.”

“Anne and Roger have put their heart and soul into their business and its standing within the locality is testament to their hard work and that of a very talented team, whom we look forward to working with. We’ll bring the sites into harmony with the rest of our company-owned operation, investing in the latest back-office technology and on-site facilities to future proof the business. We will also remain true to the values established by the Shackletons to be at the heart of the local community.”

Square and Compass filling station in north Pembrokeshire

The two forecourts currently employ 20 people. They are seven miles apart, both situated in the town of Haverfordwest. Dave Morris, Director at specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co, acted on behalf of owners Anne and Roger and comments; “The two forecourts presented a great opportunity for a buyer as they are in a good location and well regarded locally. It has been a pleasure to work for Anne and Roger who have been passionate fuel retailers for over 20 years and we wish them all the best with their retirement. Both sites are a good fit for Certas Energy and we look forward to seeing them transition into Certas’ company owned portfolio.”

Reflecting on his departure from the business, Roger Shackleton says: “We have fantastic staff and a successful business that has been nurtured to the needs of our community. I’ve loved every minute of the ever changing environment of forecourt and convenience retailing. I still get up every morning at 4am to prepare for the day ahead but now seems the right time to retire. Certas Energy and Gulf Retail are better suited to unlock the future potential and get the very best out of our two sites. It’s a very emotive time for us both, we regard our staff as family but we know they are in good hands. The Gulf team are genuine, the process has been relatively smooth and David Morris of Christie and Co. has been brilliant, working tirelessly keep the deal progressing and to get us to this place.”

“When we drive past the sites in the future, we may feel saddened that we are no longer at the helm but in Gulf Retail, we are happy that we have sold to the right people.”

This latest acquisition by Certas Energy increases its company portfolio to 35 sites as it continues to grow the Gulf network in size and scale.

Fuel family’s final farewell

IT WAS an emotional farewell at two north Pembrokeshire filling stations this week as the popular owners Roger and Anne Shackleton handed the reigns over to new owners Certas Energy, Britain’s largest independent distributor of fuels and lubricants.

Staff at Letterston filling station say good bye to old owners Roger and Anne

After 22 years, Roger and Anne are looking forward to a more relaxed life on their farm, and to see more of their family, they told The Herald.

In 1997, the couple sold their pedigree herd and bought Letterston Filling Station. In 2007 Square and Compass Filling Station was purchased and plans were made to rebuild the shop into a convenience store to serve the neighbourhood. They were able to provide a wide range of goods and competitive fuel prices over a long period at both sites, an important resource for the local community in both cases.

The staff at Square and Compass filling station

Roger and Anne said in a statement: “We would like to thank our suppliers, and the loyal and long-standing customers for their support over the years. A final thank you goes to the staff, past and present that have helped make the business what it is today.

They added: “We would like to extend our best wishes to Certas Energy for success in the future with both Letterston and Square and Compass Filling Stations.”

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Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre

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LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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Beware of fake E.ON refund emails, warns Action Fraud

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ACTION FRAUD – the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime – has said scammers are impersonating Eon in an attempt to steal the recipient’s money and financial details.

The UK’s energy crisis has seen household utility bills rocket following the price cap increase this April, scammers are seeing this as an opportunity to fleece unsuspecting residents out of their hard-earned cash.

Action Fraud said today it has received 449 relating to fake emails – known as phishing – purporting to come from E.ON.

The emails state that the recipient is owed an £85 refund due to an ‘overcharge’.

Action Fraud has said the links to the emails lead to a ‘genuine-looking website’ but they are designed to steal a personal details.

Phishing is a method used by scammers, using fake emails or web links which look trustworthy and familiar, to gain access to sensitive information such as passwords and bank details or to infect your device with malware.

Phishing emails are a very common type of cyber attack and because they’re made to look like they’re from an official source, they’re easy to fall victim of.

They could be from a business you’re a customer of – your gas and electricity supplier, for example – asking you to manage your account or pay a bill.

If you’ve had a suspicious email from someone claiming to be from E.ON, forward it to phishing@eonenergy.com for their cyber security team to investigate, if you’re a customer or not, and then delete it immediately.

Email safety tips

E.ON has listed four things you can check if you’ve received an email claiming to be from us.

  1. Check the sender’s address

The senders email address may look trustworthy at first, but the name after the ‘@’ (the domain) can give you a clue as to whether it’s bogus. For example if the email is sent from: @eonHelpDeskUK.com, this is likely a malicious phishing attempt, as we’d only send emails from @eonenergy.com.

  1. Is the greeting personal?

A genuine email will address you by your full name, and not a generic term like ‘sir’, ‘madam’, or ‘loyal customer’.

  1. Be cautious

If you’re using a mouse, hover over any links you’re unsure of before clicking on them, just to see if the link address looks genuine. If you’re unsure, go to the website directly instead of using the link in the email.

  1. How does it look?

Check the grammar, tone and design of any emails which you receive. Look out for inconsistent fonts, unusual characters and punctuation.

Remember, if you’re unsure, forward the email to phishing@eonenergy.com and our cyber security team will investigate.

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Business

Ownership change for 200-year old hotel in Llanelli hotel following significant funding deal

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Ashburnham Hotel

A 200-YEAR-OLD hotel in Llanelli is set to get a new lease of life after its new owners secured significant funding from NatWest.

Nickesha Graham-Burrell and Balfour Burrell obtained a £420k funding package from the bank to purchase The Ashburnham Hotel in Pembrey following the retirement of its previous owners.

The Burrells plan to strengthen the impressive reputation and operation of the £650,000 annual turnover business including considerable investment in landscaping and internal refurbishments at the seven-acre site, and a future vision to add guest lodges to the grounds.

The couple also plans to improve sustainability by installing electric vehicle charging points on-site.

Balfour, a former construction project manager, will take over as general manager. All current staff will be retained as part of the changing of hands, while the new owners hope to create more jobs in the local area as the business expands.

Built as an independent inn in the early 1800s to provide accommodation for businesspeople in the area, the hotel inherits its name from the Earl of Ashburnham, who lived at Pembrey house until the 1920s. Most notably, the property accommodated aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart for an overnight stay following her transatlantic flight in 1928, where she became the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

The deal was completed in March 2022 and secured the freehold of the hotel alongside all existing furniture and fittings. Jo McCarthy, commercial finance broker at B2B Finance, Andrew Styles, business development manager and Paul Dunne, relationship manager, both at NatWest, supported the transaction.

Nickesha said: “Ashburnham Hotel is an extremely important business in the local area and sits in idyllic surroundings close to Pembrey Country Park and Ashburnham golf course. It is rich in history and still plays a huge part in the local community offering everything from weddings to business meetings and dining opportunities.

“The hotel has seen many changes over the years and will undergo internal and external refurbishment to create a sophisticated and luxurious feel. We’re excited about the future of the business and are committed to ensuring it remains authentic as the operation expands.”

Paul Dunne, Relationship Manager at NatWest for Carmarthenshire, said: “Working with Nickesha and the team to secure this funding package has been a pleasure. I am confident the funds provided by NatWest will help to inject refreshed life back into the much-loved hotel and encourage additional employment opportunities in the area.

“The hospitality sector has faced a particularly challenging time on a national scale, however, SMEs such as The Ashburnham Hotel will play a huge role in our economic recovery and Natwest is delighted to support this venture.”

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