Forecourts operator Euro Garages is to merge with continental counterpart EFR and has drafted in former Asda boss Tony DeNunzio as chairman.

The deal and appointment come as the enlarged business seeks to build convenience retail operations.

Euro Garages and EFR – European Forecourt Retail Group - are both backed by private equity group TDR. They have 338 and 1,100 locations respectively in the UK and Europe.

Euro Garages generated sales last year of £815.6m, a year on year increase of 26%. While fuel accounted for £674.3m of that, shop and fast food sales totalled £141.4m versus £106.2 a year earlier.

The business has partnerships with retailers including Spar, Subway and Greggs, and is beginning a pilot of Sainsbury’s c-stores.

EFR, meanwhile, says that “convenience store operations are a key component of our future growth strategy”.

Forecourt retail is increasingly appealing to well-known retail names. Morrisons for instance is testing a petrol station format under the Morrisons Daily banner in a tie-up with Motor Fuel Group.

Euro Garages’ founders, Mohsin and Zuber Issa will remain shareholders in the combined business.

The arrival of DeNunzio as chair indicates the scale of ambition for the combined Euro Garages and EFR.

After leaving Asda in 2005 after 12 years with the grocery giant he went on to work with private equity-backed retailers ranging from Maxeda in the Netherlands to Pets at Home, which he joined in 2010 and where he is still chairman following its IPO in 2014.

DeNunzio is also a senior independent director at Dixons Carphone.

No comment was available from TDR.