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    Getty Realty Still Trying to Move Past GPMI Bankruptcy

    Associated litigation costs remain "stubbornly high."

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News

    JERICHO, N.Y. -- Getty Realty Corp. President and CEO David B. Driscoll acknowledged the company has filed several quarterly reports since Getty Petroleum Marketing Inc. (GPMI) filed for bankruptcy protection. Unfortunately, the Dec. 5, 2011 bankruptcy filing continues to affect the real estate investment trust.

    "GPMI has dominated the remarks in each of those quarters and is still with us today," Driscoll said during today's 2013 fiscal first-quarter earnings report. "But the theme this time is not just about [GPMI]. Our quarterly results are beginning to reflect our underlying assets."

    Getty Realty initially inked a master lease with GPMI, which subsequently subleased 799 properties to individual gas station and convenience store operators. But when GPMI filed for bankruptcy, all 799 properties were left in flux. Getty Realty has since signed triple-net leases with several companies and sold many other properties.

    Regarding earnings, Jericho, N.Y.-based Getty Realty, which owns and leases approximately 1,025 properties primarily in the Northeast, achieved a net profit of $10.4 million in its latest quarter ended March 31, compared to $6.5 million in earnings during its 2012 first quarter.

    Although its profits increased by more than 50 percent, Driscoll noted that "expenses remain stubbornly high." These expenses are led by continuing litigation costs involving GPMI's bankruptcy. But these costs should begin to subside in the third quarter of this year, the chief executive relayed.

    Despite the overhang of GPMI, Driscoll mentioned that many great things happened in the company's latest quarter. Chief among them, all non-GPMI-related properties are "doing great," he said. "They are performing as advertised."

    Also, Getty Realty has sold 68 properties year to date, more than one per week. The CEO expressed optimism that it will sell many more. In fact, as CSNews Online reported last month, the company has retained NRC Realty & Capital Advisors LLC to sell 108 properties in 12 states.

    Confident it is moving forward from GPMI's bankruptcy, Getty Realty is entering a growth mode. The company is actively seeking property acquisitions, with price tags ranging from $4 million to $5 million on the low side to more than $50 million on the upper end.

    "We are reigniting growth efforts," said Driscoll. "But there are not many large portfolios available right now. In addition, we have plenty of competitors…So, we need to be more creative."

    On a final note, Driscoll said he was aware that more than 20 Getty station owners in New York and New Jersey were protesting alleged unfair gasoline commissions. He stressed that Getty Realty is a landlord and is in no way involved in any gas station operations.

    By Brian Berk, Convenience Store News
    • About Brian Berk Brian Berk is managing editor of Stagnito Business Information's Convenience Store News and Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner, where he specializes in covering motor fuels, technology and financial news. He has served the magazine industry for 14 years and has also worked in the radio and newspaper fields. Berk holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the State University of New York at Cortland and a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

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