Mohsin, left, and Zuber Issa took advantage as big oil companies sold off underperforming gas...
Two brothers who became billionaires in Britain by focusing on food over fuel at gas stations are looking to roll out that model globally in the hope of finding broader success.
As teenagers, Mohsin and Zuber Issa worked at a filling station in northern England owned by their parents, who emigrated from India in the 1960s. They used that experience to expand from the purchase of a single derelict site nearby into one of the world’s largest independent gas-station operators, with over 6,000 sites across Europe, and more recently in Australia and the U.S.
They took advantage as big oil companies sold off underperforming gas stations, snapping up sites in the U.K. and then in Europe. Their playbook: doubling down on higher-margin food, selling fresh and packaged groceries and franchising some of the world’s most recognizable fast-food brands.
Now the Issa brothers are looking to repeat the trick in the U.S. EG Group—the business they own along with private-equity firm TDR Capital—struck its sixth American acquisition in just over two years in November.
But as the brothers explore a stock-market listing for the business, they are facing scrutiny over corporate governance and the debt amassed to fund the rapid expansion. And some retail analysts say EG Group faces a tougher test stateside.