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WESTLAKE, Ohio — TravelCenters of America LLC (TA) is in the process of acquiring 10 sites as it continues to pursue internal and external growth, CEO Thomas O'Brien said Monday during the retailer's 2014 third-quarter earnings call. Acquisitions of three travel centers and seven convenience stores are expected to close in early 2015.
These new sites are located "fairly close" to the 31 Minit Mart stores TA purchased for $67.9 million in late 2013, O'Brien noted. The locations will likely require some rebranding, but not major repositioning, he said.
"They're on the larger side," O'Brien added. While there are certain enhancements the company is likely to make, "they're right up our alley."
Westlake-based TA now operates 250 travel centers under the TravelCenters of America, TA and Petro Stopping Center brands, as well as 34 convenience stores with gas, primarily under the Minit Mart banner.
TA reported net profit of $12.8 million during the third quarter, a $3-million decrease from its net income during the third quarter of 2013 due to increased income taxes, company officials said. Income before taxes saw a year-over-year increase of $5.1 million to $21.2 million for the quarter.
Total fuel sales fell to 517,000 gallons during the quarter, down from 520,000 sold during the same quarter one year ago. O'Brien attributed the decline to drivers' conservation efforts and TA's decision to avoid selling lower-margin fuels.
Total non-fuel sales increased to $430 million from $391 million one year ago.
“During the 2014 third quarter, TA posted solid gains in combined fuel and non-fuel margins, up just over 8 percent, handily outpacing growth in site-level operating expenses," O'Brien remarked during Monday's conference call.
TA will continue to focus on internal initiatives such as its RoadSquad Connect emergency roadside services and amenities that benefit truck drivers in particular. These initiatives and continued emphasis on convenience, a wide array of amenities, customer service and hospitality contributed to improved same-store sales and improved consumer perception, according to TA.
"More fleet customers today than in the past think of TA and Petro as the better place to send their drivers," O'Brien said.