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About Ta Operating LLC

TravelCenters of America (TCA) is in it for the long haul. The company operates or franchises some 540 travel centers, standalone convenience stores, and standalone restaurants primarily targeting truckers and highway motorists across the US. Its brands include TravelCenters of America/TA, Petro Stopping Centers/Petro, Minit Mart, and Quaker Steak & Lube. TCA's travel centers, which account for most of sales, offer diesel fuel and gas, truck repair and maintenance services, full- or quick-service restaurants, and showers and other customer amenities. The company leases about 200 of its locations from Hospitality Properties Trust (HPT), its largest shareholder.

Operations

TCA operates through two primary segments, travel centers and convenience stores. Its travel center business, which accounts for some 85% of revenue, includes about 180 TravelCenters of Americas/TA locations and about 80 Petro Stopping Centers/Petro locations. The company operates nearly 230 of the centers and franchises the rest. The convenience stores business, 10%-plus of revenue, includes more than 230 Minit Mart locations that offer gasoline, coffee, groceries, and other traditional convenience store fare. (The company announced plans in mid-2018 to sell its convenience store operations.) The remaining revenue comes from corporate and other and includes some 50 Quaker Steak & Lube restaurants.

Fuel generates about two-thirds of TCA's revenue; the rest comes from truck services and food and other items sold in it stores.

Geographic Reach

TCA operates or franchises about 540 travel centers, convenience stores, and restaurants across the US (as well as a single location in Ontario, Canada). Its largest market is the Midwest with Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin together accounting for nearly half of all locations.

Sales and Marketing

TCA caters to professional truck drivers and travelers who rely on gas stations and convenience stores while on the road. Customers include trucking fleets and their drivers, independent truck drivers, and motorists.

Financial Performance

Although TCA's revenue was up in 2017, it has fallen significantly over the past five years amid falling gas prices. It is down nearly 25% since 2013. Net income has suffered a more severe drop, falling some 70% during that time.

In 2017 the company reported revenue of $6.1 billion, an increase of more than 10% from the prior year. The growth was driven by a 16% jump in fuel revenue because of rising gasoline prices in the second half of the year. Boosted by the revenue growth, net income was $9 million in 2017 compared to a loss of $2 million in 2016. An income tax benefit related to the resolution of previous uncertain tax positions also positively impacted the results.

Cash at the end of 2017 was $36 million, a decrease of $25 million from the prior year. Cash from operations contributed $36 million to the coffers, while investing activities used $62 million, mainly for capital expenditures. Financing activities added just under $1 million primarily because of sale leaseback transactions with Hospitality Properties Trust.

Strategy

TCA is building its cross-country network of travel centers through acquisitions (by opportunistically buying up smaller competitors) and by opening new locations. Since 2011 the company has acquired and developed some 325 travel centers, convenience stores, and standalone restaurants (mostly convenience stores). It has invested roughly $910 million to develop, purchase, and improve locations.

In an effort to kickstart its travel center expansion, in 2018 TCA launched a new brand called TA Express. The smaller travel center concept will offer a quicker customer experience and provide more site flexibility to the company. Large tracts of land along or near interstates are becoming scarcer. TCA hopes the new format will also spur interest in travel center franchising.

In addition to expansion efforts, the company's growth plans include investments in its existing properties and services. Recent improvements have included parking lot expansions, restaurant renovations, and installation of car washes. TCA is also focused on enhancing its TA Truck Service offerings, which include some 1,100 repair bays, more than 2,600 service trucks, RoadSquad and OnSite emergency maintenance vehicles, and a commercial tire network.

In mid-2018 TCA announced plans to sell its stand-alone convenience store operations (about 225 stores) to UK-based EG Group for some $330 million. The deal will free up focus and funds for the company's travel center business. 

Ta Operating LLC

24601 Center Ridge Rd STE 200
Westlake, OH 44145-5677
Phone: 1 (440) 808-9100

Stats

Employer Type: Privately Owned
Vice President, Strategic Planning: Thomas Komos
Director, Retail Marketing: Thomas Newbould
Regional Supply Leader East: Daniel Walter
Employees (This Location): 300
Employees (All Locations): 10,000

Major Office Locations

Westlake, OH

Other Locations

Mc Calla, AL
Shorter, AL
Eloy, AZ
Kingman, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Arvin, CA
Corning, CA
Gustine, CA
Lebec, CA
Jacksonville, FL
Marianna, FL
Reddick, FL
Brunswick, GA
Effingham, IL
Chesterton, IN
Demotte, IN
Lexington, KY
Hammond, LA
Shreveport, LA
Floodwood, MN
Kingdom City, MO
Jackson, MS
Mebane, NC
Whitsett, NC
Ogallala, NE
Bordentown, NJ
Milan, NM
Imlay, NV
Sparks, NV
Waterloo, NY
Ashland, OH
Girard, OH
Kingsville, OH
North Baltimore, OH
Perrysburg, OH
Phoenix, OR
Kingston Springs, TN
Knoxville, TN
La Vergne, TN
Amarillo, TX
Beaumont, TX
Canutillo, TX
El Paso, TX
San Antonio, TX
Terrell, TX
Weatherford, TX
North Bend, WA
Fort Bridger, WY
Laramie, WY