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    TA's Q3 Net Earnings More Than Quadruple

    Increased fuel and nonfuel sales and margins lead the way for the chain of travel centers. 

    WESTLAKE, Ohio -- TravelCenters of America LLC's third-quarter net earnings more than quadrupled to $20.6 million. The operator of 235 locations -- 167 of which bear the TravelCenters of America or TA name, and 68 operating under the Petro name -- earned a net income of $4.5 million during the same quarter last year.

    According to TA, increases in fuel and nonfuel sales and margin levels accounted for the huge profit advancement compared to last year. The Q3 numbers show TA took in fuel revenues of $1.7 billion for the three-month period ending Sept. 30. That compares to $1.1 billion last year. Fuel margins increased 5.2 percent compared to last year.

    As for nonfuel revenues, they rose to $348 million, advancing from $316 million during 2010's third quarter. Nonfuel profit margins increased more than 8 percent compared to TA's 2010 third quarter.

    In total, TA's revenues increased to nearly $2.1 billion, compared to $1.5 billion last year.

    Thomas O'Brien, the company's CEO, said during this morning's conference call that he was pleased with the results, and he added that eight new locations the company opened this year have contributed generously to the bottom line.

    TA soon plans to open three more truck service centers, according to O'Brien. He said the company would make a $20-million investment in those properties either during 2011's fiscal fourth quarter or 2012's first quarter.

    Regarding other goals, O'Brien said TA would install 75 diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) islands by the end of 2012.

    Overall, O'Brien was bullish about TA's short-term future. "I'm optimistic about 2012," he said during the conference call.

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