TravelCenters Of America's CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

TravelCenters of America LLC (TA)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

August 7, 2012 10:00 am ET

Executives

Timothy A. Bonang – Vice President, Investor Relations

Thomas M. O'Brien – Managing Director, President, Chief Executive Officer

Andrew J. Rebholz – Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Benjamin Brownlow – Raymond James & Associates, Inc.

Timothy Fronda – Sidoti & Company

Michael Lasser – UBS

Susan Kay Anderson – Citigroup Global Markets Inc.

Robert Simone – Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc.

Jeff Geygan – Milwaukee Private Wealth Management Inc.

Martin W. Pyle – Edward Jones Investments

Presentation

Operator

Good day, and welcome to the TravelCenters of America’s Second Quarter 2012 Financial Results Conference Call. This call is being recorded. At this time, for opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the call over to the Vice President of Investor Relations, Tim Bonang. Please go ahead.

Timothy A. Bonang

Thank you. Good morning, and welcome, everyone. Our agenda today includes remarks by Tom O'Brien, our Chief Executive Officer; and Andy Rebholz, our Chief Financial Officer. After the presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session.

Today's conference call contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and Federal Securities laws. These forward-looking statements are based on TA’s present beliefs and expectations as of today, August 7, 2012. TA undertakes no obligation to revise or publicly release the results of any revisions to the forward-looking statements made today other than as required by law. Actual results may differ materially from those implied or included in any forward-looking statements.

Additional information concerning factors that could cause our forward-looking statements not to occur is contained in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements. I would also note that the recording and retransmission of today’s conference call is strictly prohibited without the prior written consent of TA.

Now, I will turn the call over to Tom O’Brien.

Thomas M. O’Brien

Good morning everybody. Thank you for joining our call today. Our results for the 2012 second quarter continued our strength of year-over-year improvements. We generated net income of $29.9 million or $1.04 a share, for the second quarter of 2012, an improvement of $8 million over the second quarter of 2011.

The increase on a per share basis was $0.04 or 4% despite a 33% increase in our weighted average share count due primarily to our issuance of equity during the second quarter last year.

Further, our 2012 second quarter EBITDAR was $94.1 million, an increase of $11.2 million or 13% over the 2011 second quarter. These results of the 2012 second quarter represent our 10th consecutive quarter of improved results over the prior year quarter.

For the first six of 2012, we generated net income of $15.7 million or $0.54 a share, an improvement of $10.4 million or approximately three times the net income we generated in the first six months of 2011. The increase on a per share basis was $0.28 or 108%, we generated EBITDAR of $164 million for the first half of 2012, an increase of $17.9 million or 12% over the 2011 first half.

I attribute these improvements to the capital investments we’ve made in existing properties in 2011 and in 2012, the favorable changes in fuel margins particularly during the 2012 second quarter, as fuel prices generally declined. Our operational execution and ongoing improvements in customer service delivery, and of course our continuing program to acquire TravelCenters to fill in our nationwide network. These results have been achieved despite only modest trucking business improvements reported by many of our customers.

For the 2012 second quarter, we realized same-site growth in nonfuel revenues of 4%, and in nonfuel gross margin of 2.2%, despite our modest fuel volume change. While nonfuel margin as a percentage of nonfuel revenue declined by about a 100 basis points, our site level operating expense as a percentage of nonfuel revenues was managed downward by 180 basis points on a same-site basis during the 2012 quarter.

Our fuel sales volume on a same-site basis was down 2.2% versus the prior year quarter, and we believe this is at least partially the result of dispensers that were out of service at times during the quarter, as we continued to install new high-speed diesel and Diesel Exhaust Fluid or DEF equipment throughout our network.

On a weighted average basis about 3% of our diesel fuel dispensers were out of service for replacement and installation of DEF during the second quarter. We expect that by year-end, our new dispenser and DEF projects will be largely complete nationwide. We continue to expect to post net income for the full year of 2012 that will exceed the net income, we generated for 2011.

Besides the very positive earnings report for the second quarter, there are other reasons that I'm excited about TA's prospects for the future. We have made or are making several investments in our business that we expect to contribute to our earnings growth. Some examples include, first, we continue to opportunistically take advantage of distressed market conditions affecting specialized real estate. We bought three travel centers for about $13 million during the second quarter and another five for about $22 million during July.

In April, we invested $81 million to purchase one travel center off Interstate 81 in Scranton, Pennsylvania that had been previously operated as Petro Stopping Center by a former franchisee. In June, we invested $5 million to acquire two travel centers in Michigan, one in Battle Creek off I-94 and one in Tekonsha off I-69 both of which have been branded TA.

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