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Greenbrier achieves quarterly gains in rail-car orders, backlog

On Jan. 7, The Greenbrier Cos. reported financial results for first-quarter fiscal year 2003, which ended Nov. 30.
The rail-car builder's North American operations earned $97 million in revenue compared with $71 million in first-quarter FY 2002. And Greenbrier's North American and European operations reported a net loss of $700,000 compared with $5 million during the same period.
During the quarter, Greenbrier received North American and European orders totaling 1,700 cars valued at $115 million.
In North America, Greenbrier received orders from TTX Co. for 600 Maxi-IV double-stack and 500 60-foot box cars, and from Canadian National Railway Co. for 200 riserless-deck, center-partition cars. In Europe, the company received orders from DB Cargo for 150 coal cars and from Freightliner for 104 box cars.
"Orders during the past two quarters were at dramatically higher levels than the previous six-month period, both for Greenbrier and the industry," said President and Chief Executive Officer William Furman in a prepared statement, adding that the company expects more orders during 2003 because of forest-product and intermodal traffic growth.
The company also produced 1,200 cars during the quarter, which increased its backlog as of Nov. 30 to 5,700 units (valued at $310 million) compared with an Aug. 31 backlog of 5,200 units ($280 million).
The backlog includes 800 drop-deck center-partition cars at Greenbrier's TrentonWorks, Nova Scotia, plant. The car builder expects production and delivery of those cars to be slowed because of patent litigation initiated by a competitor. Although production of other cars in TrentonWorks' backlog will be accelerated during litigation, Greenbrier officials expect to temporarily lay off some of the plant's workers.
However, because of production rates and an improved North American market, Greenbrier plans to reopen its Gunderson-Concarril facility in Sahagun, Mexico, in March. The plant, which is jointly owned by Greenbrier and Bombardier Transportation, will produce box cars.

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