HOUSTON — Touting its diversified assets amid fuel volatility, and pleased with the completed acquisition of what is now the largest convenience-store brand in its portfolio, Sunoco LP’s CEO and president Bob Owens announced this week “a very solid performance” for its second quarter.
During the company’s earnings call, Owens and CFO Clare McGrory outlined the results for the period, highlighting the strong sales performances of its c-store assets, organic growth across some of the country’s fastest-growing markets and expectations for more acquisitions in the new year.
The call came on the heels of the July 31 acquisition of Susser Holdings Corp. from affiliates of Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP) for $1.934 billion. With the acquisition came Susser’s 679 convenience stores in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, primarily under the Stripes brand, as well as Susser’s retail fuel volumes.
Owens said he expects Sunoco will enjoy the increased scale and exposure to the segment thanks to Susser’s “strong operational and strategic execution.”
The chain has seen 26 consecutive years of positive same-store sales growth, and ended last quarter with 3.1% same-store merchandise sales growth and 2.4% same-store fuel volume growth—“impressive considering that we did continue to see declines in certain regions that are most impacted by falloff in oil production,” said McGrory.
The two further pointed to the strength of the markets in which Susser operates, its successful Laredo Taco Co. restaurant brand and its robust new-build program, which is a “significant and reliable source for organic growth,” said Owens.
More than 40 new Stripes stores will go up this year, all with Laredo Taco locations, and current plans for 2016 include at least 40 more sites.
Sunoco LP also expects to close next week on a “small tuck-in acquisition” of 28 Quick Stop convenience stores in southern Texas. The $41.6 million purchase—with a 7x multiple—takes Sunoco further into a “very desirable growth market that will geographically and operationally compliment the Stripes locations in that region.”
Most of the stores will be rebranded as Stripes.
Referencing the strong markets and assets of the Sunoco, MACS, Tigermarket, Aloha and Stripes brands, Owens told listeners “We believe up to $300 million annually can be expected in organic growth capital for the next several years.”
On MLPs & Future Acquisitions
Owens took time to point out the differences between Sunoco LP and other master limited partnerships (MLPs) in light of oil-price volatility.
“Our diverse geographic reach and channels of business provide built-in stability [with] stable, long-term contracts that support the wholesale business, and our retail-store operations that are spread across some of the fastest growing markets in the United States—all of which helps mitigates the impact of commodity price volatility and growth differentials in particular regions or states.”
McGrory further pointed out that the “third-quarter mix will shift more toward retail sales due to the Stripes acquisition, adding to the strength of retail sales in the face of fuel volatility.”
Sunoco LP is expected to return to the M&A hunt in 2016, and Owens again stressed the importance of diversification in terms of geography and operational types.
“While we’re completing the dropdowns, we’ve not stopped our look for good value creation in the form of M&A, and one of the real benefits of being a member of the Energy Transfer family is the help and flexibility that can come should we find a deal that is extremely attractive for our unitholders.”