Company set up not for the benefit of shareholders
I've been saying all along that this company was spun off from HPT to benefit HPT. Any incremental value they create, HPT extracts that value in the form of excessively high rents.
Yes HPT owns shares in TA, but by maximizing rents on TA and not getting pushback, it makes HPT's profitability look amazing and therefore gives HPT stock a boost.
Companies like TA are a vehicle for the parent company to serve their purposes. If they are making so much money hand over fist will be making like $2 per share a year, why dont they issue a dividend and get the earnings out of the company??? Because one way or another, that value will get extracted by HPT. Shareholders will be left holding the bag while management and HPT suck this vehicle dry. This is what you get when you buy companies with such poor corporate governance practices.
I understand your points ... I will dig deeply myself and we can discuss ... but , I can tell you from similar investment situations that at some point (2013) it will benefit RMR and the "players" to have TA significantly higher ... as in a double from here ... feel free to mark this post and we'll discuss later ... Cheers
* lease agreements are under multiyear rates and are locked in. HPT cant arbitrarily change any of them.
* when TA & HPT adjusted the leases, part of the agreement was that TA could not #1- pay a dividend nor #2- buy back their own shares ( at least until TA paid HPT for the lease payments that were extended, interest free until 2022(?).
TA is growing on its own, buying all the recently acquired travel centers directly. I believe they own in excess of 20 sites now, plus 8 prime parcels of ready-to-develop commercial properties, plus their corp hq building in Ohio.
But I agree it is frustrating watching the shares languish. With no legal option to re-purchase shares or pay a dividend at this time, the next catalyst on the horizon short term is the possible "inking" of the natgas deal with Shell. After that, it would be the next earnings report in Feb 2013.
If these conflicts don't exist, TA is generating a ton of shareholder value, TA's value isnt and wont get extracted by HPT, why is everybody selling???
The price action you are seeing in the shares already show the underlying issues TA faces. Very few believe TA value will go to shareholders. It is no secret that the PE ratio is like 3 and falling, but that is irrelevant if earnings may turn negative when HPT rents reset at high rates to extract the value out of TA.