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The Death Of The Car? Nope, Roadside Property Values Are Heading Up

Macquarie has paid £900M for Roadchef.

The decline of car usage, with fewer and fewer young people taking a driving test in the UK each year, has been predicted for some time. But for now, the value of real estate related to car usage continues to perform strongly. 

The asset management division of Australian bank Macquarie this week agreed to buy motorway service station owner Roadchef for £900M from Antin Infrastructure Partners.

The sale crystallises a big profit for Antin, which bought Roadchef for £150M in 2014. 

Roadchef operates 30 sites across the UK, and its partners include McDonald’s, Costa Coffee and Leon. 

Macquarie said part of the reason for buying the company is to support its rollout of fast-charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. The need to charge cars on large journeys is likely to increase the time motorists spend at service stations, which means they are likely to spend more money there. 

Elsewhere, Gerald Ronson’s GMR Capital said that the value of its portfolio of 262 UK freehold and leasehold petrol stations had increased in value from £753M to £908M in the year to 30 September 2021. 

Revenue from the portfolio rose from £1.13B to £1.22B, and pre-tax profit rose from £42M to £64M.

GMR said that in the long term, the switch from petrol to electric vehicles posed a challenge to the company, adding it was fitting its petrol stations with more EV charging points to cater to the growing number of electric vehicles.