WESTLAKE, Ohio – While fuel sales volume grew nicely during the most recent quarter for TravelCenters of America LLC, revenue took a double-digit hit because of declining prices and margins. TA announced financial results for the three and nine months ended Sept. 30, 2015, on Monday.
Fuel sales volume for the 2015 third quarter increased by 36.7 million gallons, or 7.1%, compared to the 2014 third quarter due to sites acquired since the beginning of the 2014 third quarter and increased same-site fuel sales volume. Fuel revenue for the 2015 third quarter declined by $544.6 million, or 34.6%, primarily due to the significantly lower market prices for fuel in the 2015 third quarter than in the 2014 third quarter.
Fuel gross margin per gallon for the 2015 third quarter decreased to 18.6 cents per gallon compared to 19.1 CPG for the 2014 third quarter, primarily due to a favorable purchasing experience in 2014 that did not recur in 2015. In total, fuel gross margin for the 2015 third quarter increased by $4.2 million, or 4.3%, compared to the 2014 third quarter.
Nonfuel revenue for the 2015 third quarter increased by $44.4 million, or 10.3%, compared to the 2014 third quarter due to both increases in sales at sites acquired since the beginning of the 2014 third quarter and a $20.8 million, or 4.9%, increase on a same site basis due to favorable marketing initiatives.
Adjusted EBITDAR for the 2015 third quarter increased by $1.9 million, or 1.9%, compared to the 2014 third quarter due to sites acquired since the beginning of the 2014 third quarter and a 2.5% increase in site level gross margin in excess of site level operating expense on a same site basis.
Net income for the 2015 third quarter was $9.8 million, or $0.26 per share, compared to $12.8 million, or $0.34 per share for the 2014 third quarter. The change in net income is primarily due to increased operating expenses associated with newly acquired sites and higher rent expense as a result of the transactions with parent company Hospitality Properties Trust (HPT), partially offset by increases in fuel gross margin and nonfuel gross margin. Net income for the 2015 third quarter was also impacted by acquisition costs of $1.8 million and site staff training and other integration costs primarily associated with the 153 sites that TA acquired during the first nine months of 2015.
“Our 2015 third quarter operating results were solid, with fuel margin per gallon of $0.186, fuel volume up 7.1%, and nonfuel revenue growth of 10.3% and Adjusted EBITDAR up 1.9%,” said president and CEO Thomas O’Brien. “During the first three quarters of 2015, TA invested $319.4 million to acquire and renovate a combined 153 travel centers and convenience stores. While I am pleased with the progress we are making with these acquisitions and renovations to date, I expect their contribution to our operating results will increase as we continue the integration of these sites into our purchasing and marketing programs.”
Click here to read about TA’s new commitment to convenience-store retailing.