A BLACKBURN firm has acquired 45 Esso service stations in a multi-million pound deal.

The acquisition takes the number of Euro Garages to around 120, making it one of the UK’s largest independent operators.

The portfolio’s existing retail space will be converted to SPAR-branded convenience stores over the coming months.

Mohsin Issa, managing director of Euro Garages, said: “This is a transformational acquisition for our business, which accelerates our consolidation strategy in the UK and increases our presence in a number of important regions.

“It also fits perfectly with our retail proposition, which is based on partnering with quality brands to offer our customers the very best experience and value across our forecourts.”

Euro Garages was founded in 2001 by brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, sons of Gujarati immigrants who came to Blackburn in the 1960s, following the acquisition of a single, derelict petrol filling station in Bury.

It now employs more than 1,000 members of staff Zuber Issa, chief executive officer of Euro Garages, said: “This acquisition adds a collection of premium location sites to our portfolio, providing considerable opportunity for further development and value creation in the estate alongside our partnership brands.

“It also brings a team of skilled, customer-focussed employees who will be crucial to our continued commitment to service on the front line.”

Last year, Euro Garages reported sales growth of 3 per cent to £314m in the 12 months to 31 July 2012.

This included growth in the total value of fuel sales as well as a sharp increase in retail sales from its SPAR convenience stores and partner brands, which include Starbucks, Subway and Burger King.

In July 2011 the company opened its first motorway services on the M61 – Rivington Services.

In 2012, the business announced a five-year agreement with Starbucks to open 100 additional drive-thru coffee outlets, with around 25 already trading successfully.