Travelcenters of America: Free Cash Flow Will Fuel Growth

| About: TravelCenters of (TA)

Travelcenters of America (NYSEMKT:TA) released 2006 results and held a conference call yesterday.

Most of the data was pro forma, but we estimate that the company has the ability to generate about $25 million in free cash flow at this point ($2.84/share). Management is primarily focused on growth.

As TA has a lot of operating leverage, they feel that expending growth capex on new centers and expanding old centers is the best way to bring the company to profitability. Rent increases are going to be moderate over the next 5 years (less than 2% per year), so any growth in EBITDA over 2% annually will be accretive to earnings and free cash flow.

They are not considering share buybacks at this time, although 75% of their $200 million cash horde is "free", amounting to $17/share in free cash.

At the current price, the company still looks underpriced.

Disclosure: We still hold shares of TA.

TA 3 month chart: