Customers shouldn’t notice many immediate changes at TravelCenters of America sites immediately following BP Products North America Inc.’s acquisition of it, Greg Franks, senior vice president of mobility and convenience for the Americas, told CSP Daily News Monday following the closing of the $1.3 billion deal.
The more than 280 truckstops will keep their TA, Petro or TA Express brand names, he said, and the level of service will remain the same for drivers. But longer term, the Chicago-based company said the transaction will provide options to expand and continue to develop convenience and mobility offers through four of bp’s five transition growth engines: Electric-vehicle charging, biofuels, hydrogen and convenience.
“What we intend to do is really listen and learn from the team at TA about their customers,” Franks said. “They service many of the largest fleet customers in the U.S., so we want to build those relationships and understand what they want. Then we intend to more broadly consider, ‘What is the fleet offering of the future?’”
- bp is No. 7 and TravelCenters of America is No. 29 on CSP’s Top 40 update to the 2022 Top 202 ranking of U.S. convenience-store chains by company-owned store count. Watch for the updated list in June.
It’s important to take care of the diesel customers, he said, but overtime other options will grow.
“We have EV charging expertise that we’re developing in other parts of the world,” Franks said. “We are installing these networks and really learning about EV so that we can impart some of that expertise here.”
He noted bp’s acquisition of renewable natural gas provider Archaea Energy Inc. in December and the investing around hydrogen that bp is already doing. While it’s not a “tomorrow” solution, Franks says that is likely one of the important paths to decarbonizing heavy transport.
Another priority will be investing in the company’s digital backbone so customers can easily move around in bp’s ecosystem and experience its services, which include the Thornton’s and ampm convenience brands.
“We have a diversity of product offerings, and that’s one of the strengths, and so how well we bring that together so that consumers can use that as frictionless and efficiently as they want, I think is important for the future,” Franks said.
There will be some site refreshes in store with the TA acquisition, Franks said, as it relates to updating things like signs in the forecourt or restrooms. Everything will take time though, he adds, as TA has a lot of locations and big sites.
As to whether the competing bid from Arko Corp., parent company of convenience retailer GPM Investments, was a concern for bp during the acquisition process, Franks said he was confident with bp’s bid and thorough due diligence.
“We are excited to welcome TA into the bp family,” Franks said. “They have a fantastically talented team of people that have built a very strong legacy of serving professional drivers and we are just thrilled to welcome them to the bp family.”
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