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TravelCenters Of America LLC's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Stocks in this article: TA

For the 2012 first quarter, we realized same-site growth in nonfuel revenues of 5.9% and in nonfuel gross margin of 2%. These improvements were achieved despite the modestly negative impact on our truck repair and service business of mild weather this winter.

We also managed site level operating expenses down by 30 basis points on a same-site basis. Our fuel sales volume on a same-site basis was slightly down versus the prior year quarter, and we believe this is at least partially a result of the dispensers that were out of service at times during the quarter, as we continued to install new diesel and diesel exhaust fluid equipment throughout our network. We expect that these dispenser projects will persist at certain sites throughout the remainder of the year and that by year end, we will have on island both diesel exhaust fluid available at all of our travel centers. Despite the slightly lower volume on a same-site basis, fuel gross margin increased by 9% over the 2011 first quarter.

As you may be aware, our results are typically weakest in the first quarter of the year and are strongest during the second and third quarters. For this reason, we're not at all surprised of the net loss for the first quarter and we don't think anyone who studies our business should be either.

We continue to expect to post net income for the full year of 2012 that will exceed the net income generated for 2011. During the 2012 first quarter, TA again opportunistically took advantage of the distressed market conditions affecting specialized real estate by buying or agreeing to buy 6 travel centers for about $26 million. On March 7, we invested $5 million to purchase 1 travel center in Carnesville, Georgia and branded this travel center as a Petro Stopping Center. On April 30, we invested $7.1 million to purchase a travel center in Scranton, Pennsylvania that had been previously operated as a Petro Stopping Center by a former franchisee. During the first quarter of 2012, we agreed to acquire 4 travel centers in Indiana for $14 million. 3 of these travel centers are currently operated as Petro Stopping Centers by our franchisee. We expect to keep them branded as Petros and to brand the 4th travel center as a TA. We expect to close on this acquisition during the third quarter of 2012.

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