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Value

TravelCenters of America LLC (TA - Snapshot Report) is expected to see triple digit earnings growth in 2011. This Zacks #1 Rank (strong buy) has been profiting from strong fuel sales. Shares are cheap, with a forward P/E of just 7.6.

TravelCenters of America operates (surprise, surprise) 235 travel centers in 41 U.S. states and in Canada under the brands TravelCenters of America, TA, and Petro.

The centers sell gasoline, operate restaurants, provide truck repair facilities, operate stores and offer other services for travelers.

TravelCenters Surprised for the Fourth Quarter in a Row

On Nov 7, TravelCenters reported its third quarter results and posted another solid beat of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Earnings per share were 74 cents compared to the consensus of 60 cents. It made only 26 cents last year.

Sales jumped 38% to $2.1 billion from $1.5 billion in the year ago period.

Fuel sales spiked 45% to $1.7 billion but non-fuel sales also climbed by 10% as customers spent more money in the company stores.

Zacks Consensus Estimates Jump

TravelCenters has been on a turnaround. The company lost 31 cents per share in 2010 but 2011 has dawned a new day.

2 estimates have moved higher since the earnings report, pushing the Zacks Consensus up to 64 cents from 36 cents per share. That is earnings growth of 306%.

Analysts have high hopes for 2012 as well. The 2012 Zacks Consensus has jumped to 83 cents from 70 cents in the last 30 days.

That is another 30% EPS growth.

TravelCenters Is Cheap

Shares have been depressed for months now.

As earnings estimates have risen, the company has gotten even cheaper. In addition to a P/E under 8, the company has a price-to-book ratio of just 0.4. This is well under the 3.0 cut off I use for value stocks.

TravelCenters also has an unbelievably low price-to-sales ratio of just 0.02. A P/S under 1.0 usually means a company is undervalued.

TravelCenters has the attractive combination of both dirt cheap valuations and double and triple digit earnings growth.

Tracey Ryniec is the Value Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. She is also the Editor of the Turnaround Trader and Insider Trader services. You can follow her on twitter at traceyryniec.

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