TravelCenters of America acquires Petro

| 6/1/2007

There’s been a big shake-up in the world of truck stops.

Travel Centers of America has announced it acquired Petro Stopping Centers in a $700 million deal that involves both outright ownership of some facilities and the lease of others.
TA’s parent company Hospitality Properties Trust purchased 40 Petro fuel stops and leased them to TA for $630 million. Simultaneously, TA bought the other Petro stops and assets for about $70 million.
At a press conference Thursday, TA President and CEO Thomas O’Brien said the two truck stop chains will be operated separately, and that customers shouldn’t expect any big changes in the short term for either of the two travel centers.

“The worst thing we could do is make a lot of changes too fast, I really believe there’s a great deal of value in both brands,” O’Brien said. “There are differences in operations, but both brands do certain things very well.”

Prior to being taken over by TA, Petro was a privately owned company headquartered in El Paso, TX, with its stock held by a Texas family, ABVolvo and Exxon-Mobil.

Volvo Trucks North America announced earlier in the day that its 28.68 percent interest held in Petro since 1999 has been acquired by TravelCenters of America and Hospitality Properties Trust.  A VTNA press statement reported Volvo received $46.3 million upon the closing of the transaction Thursday.

Petro has 69 travel centers in 33 states, and earned about $65 million last year. TA operates 164 truck stops, which the company itself characterized as generally older and smaller than the Petro operations.

– By Reed Black, staff writer