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May 4, 2021 3:45 PM, EDT

TravelCenters Reduces Net Loss in Q1; Revenue Rises

TA truck stop in Cheyenne, Wyo.TravelCenters of America reported a net loss of $5.7 million in the first three months compared with a loss of $18.5 million in the first quarter a year ago. (Tony Webster/Flickr)

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TravelCenters of America Inc. reduced its net loss and increased revenue in the first quarter compared with a year earlier.

For the quarter ended March 31, the company reported a net loss of $5.7 million, or a loss of 40 cents per diluted share, compared with a loss of $18.5 million, or loss of $2.23, a year earlier.

Revenue climbed to $1.5 billion compared with $1.3 billion a year earlier.

Jonathan Pertchik, CEO of TravelCenters of America Inc.

Pertchik

“Our improved operating results in the first quarter demonstrate the early progress of our transformation plan, despite the continuing adverse impact of the pandemic on our full-service restaurants and gasoline volumes,” CEO Jonathan Pertchik said in a release. “Our discipline in rationalizing and managing expenses continues to be a primary factor in delivering improved results.”

He added: “We continue to move forward with our expansive capital plan, which focuses on improving the customer experience through remedial site improvements, reimagined restaurant offerings, information technology upgrades and increased availability of biodiesel and DEF.”

Gallons of Fuel Sold

2020: Diesel, 420,022; gasoline, 59,764

2021: Diesel, 487,219; gasoline, 56,553

Fuel revenue accounted for $1 billion of the total compared with $874 million a year earlier. The company noted in the earnings release “low volatility” in the diesel fuel market persisted into early March after beginning during the fourth quarter.

Truck service revenue was $171.1 million compared with $153.9 million a year earlier.

DEF revenue rose 24.5% to $31.1 million.

Pertchik said adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization) more than doubled — to $28.6 million from $13.8 million compared with the prior-year first quarter. He also credited a $12.4 million increase in nonfuel gross margin and a $9.3 million reduction in site level operating expense.

Other first-quarter highlights

• On April 21, TA completed the sale of its Quaker Steak & Lube business, which includes 41 of its stand-alone restaurants, for $5 million, excluding costs to sell and certain closing adjustments.

• The company created a new business division, eTA, to serve the changing needs of its customers and their energy requirements.

“With eTA, we plan to be a leader in the area of sustainability and alternative energy in the travel center industry. We were recently awarded a California Energy Commission grant and are developing collaborative relationships with groups in both electric and hydrogen vehicles,” he said.

The Westlake, Ohio-based company had cash and cash equivalents of $520 million, and availability of $84.3 million under its revolving credit facility for total liquidity of $604.3 million as of March 31.

TA’s nationwide business includes travel centers located in 44 U.S. states and Canada, stand-alone truck service facilities in three states and stand-alone restaurants in 12 states. TA’s travel centers operate under the TravelCenters of America, TA, TA Express, Petro Stopping Centers and Petro brand names. TA’s stand-alone truck service facilities operate under the “TA Truck Service” brand name.

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