The Issa brothers Blackburn-headquartered EG Group said the sale of its UK and Ireland petrol filling station business to Asda, which they also own, has delivered 'significant progress' reducing its debt mountain.

The firm offloaded the subsidiary to the supermarket giant - which the billionaire Issas also own - in October for £1.98 billion, making a big cut in its borrowings.

But its results in the third quarter of 2023, representing the three months to September 30, also saw a drop in profits and revenues.

The group said the proceeds of the sale – together with the £34 million sale and leaseback of part of its US portfolio – have been used to repay almost £3.2bn of the group’s debt and significantly reduce net leverage.

The results reported an 18 per cent drop in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) to £272m for the three months due to the impact of lower fuel volumes and a competitive environment.

Sales for the period fell by six per cent from £6.4bn to £6bn.

Grocery and merchandise profit rose by 2.8 per cent for the quarter to £297m, boosted by a 12.8 per cent increase in gross profit in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Co-founders and joint chief executives of EG Group, Zuber and Mohsin Issa, said: "We made significant progress in the quarter with our deleveraging strategy and putting in place a sustainable capital structure for the medium to long-term, following completing the sale of the majority of EG Group’s UK business to Asda on October 31.

"On November 27 we achieved an important milestone by addressing all our remaining 2025 maturities through successfully completing our refinancing activities.

"We remain focused on deleveraging the business and driving earnings growth in the near term.

“We continued to deliver upon our key strategic priorities in Quarter Three, including growing gross profit in our foodservice, and grocery and merchandise businesses.

"In particular, foodservice – which continues to represent a significant growth opportunity globally – delivered a standout performance with gross profit up 24 per cent in Quarter Three, driven by increased revenues, as customers responded positively to our evolving and compelling proposition.

“In the quarter, we also signed a ground-breaking deal with Tesla to purchase their latest ultra-fast charging units – demonstrating how we continue to progress our strategy on electric vehicles (EVs) and alternative fuels.

"The agreement will support the delivery of crucial EV infrastructure for drivers, building on the momentum of our rapidly-growing evpoint business – EG’s proprietary-branded ultra-fast vehicle charging proposition.

"We see a significant opportunity to deploy EV charging points across our diverse site network.”