Roadchef, the UK’s third largest motorway services provider, has reported a pre-tax loss for the year to 4 January 2011, as it undertook a £10.5m development plan of its estate. The company, which is led by Simon Turl, reported a pre-tax loss of £2.2m for the year against a pre-tax profit of £7.9m in the previous 12 months. Operating profit for the year stood at £6.8m down from £17.5m in 2009. The business, which currently operates 19 motorway service areas, said that its bank overdraft facilities are due for renewal at the end of 2011 but that there “is no indication from the bank (Barclays) that the current facilities would not be renewed”. Its aid it terminated its operating agreement with County Estates Management Services Ltd in April 2010. If this had not been in place, the company said that its turnover fell from £244m to £202.2m during the year. The group said that as part of the refurbishment of its sites during the year it replaced Wimpy with its own in house brand, “The Burger Company” across it estate. At three of its sites it replaced Wimpy with McDonald’s, which its aid had “proved successful with significant sales growth”. In addition it invested in new seating areas and the revitalising of the Costa units at these three sites. The group said that the development programme will continue to run through its current financial year in which time it is planning to redevelop a further six sites. It said that it believed there were about 60 million visits to its sites in a year, with 36% not resulting in the visitor being converted to a customer. It said that the recent investment in its catering offer at the key sites mentioned had led to a reduction in the instance on non-conversion by between 10 to 15%. Since the year end, the group has completed the acquisition of the first Motorways business, which added Magor motorway services and Symonds Yat truck road services to its existing estate. During the previous year the group entered into a 23-year contract with BP, whereby BP would lease 12 forecourts. In 2010, six sites were transferred under the agreement, with a further four due to transfer in 2013 and the final two in 2017. It said that the agreement enabled it to reduce its exposure to the fuel price fluctuations and to “move away from very low margin business to focus on the more profitable income generators of the business such as catering”.