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Rail News: Financials

Updates from Alstom/Knorr-Bremse, Interpipe, Wabtec, L.B. Foster, GATX, Hub Group and PS Technology

Overseas developments and financial results dominate the latest news from seven rail industry suppliers and service providers:

• Alstom Transport and Knorr-Bremse AG reached a long-term framework agreement under which Knorr-Bremse will develop and supply braking systems for Alstom rail vehicles world-wide. The partnership presents Knorr-Bremse new opportunities in both the French and international railway equipment markets, the braking system supplier said.

• Interpipe Corp.'s Nizhnedneprovsk tube-rolling plant in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, has received certification to supply finished machined railway wheels to national rail operators in the Czech Republic and Hungary. Last year, Interpipe's exports to Europe accounted for 37 percent of the continent's exported railway wheels. Interpipe supplies wheels to national rail operators in Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Poland and Switzerland, as well as European leasing companies and rail-car builders.

• Wabtec Corp. reported record first quarter sales of $383 million, up 22 percent compared with first-quarter 2007's sales. The rail industry supplier and service provider also reported quarterly income from operations of $54 million, up 28 percent, and earning per diluted share of an all-time-high 66 cents, up 27 percent.

• L.B. Foster Co. reported first quarter net sales of $93.4 million, down 15.6 percent year over year. However, income from continuing operations and earnings per diluted share more than doubled to $6.3 million and 57 cents, respectively. Rail product sales were soft, but operating margins improved because of improved billing margins, a favorable product mix and operating efficiencies, the company said.

• GATX Corp.'s first-quarter rail segment profit increased 10 percent year over year to $73.8 million primarily because of renewal rate increases in prior quarters, increased remarketing and scrapping income, and higher earnings from European operations. As of March 31, the company's North American fleet stood at 111,000 rail cars and fleet utilization rate reached 98.1 percent, equaling first-quarter 2007's rate but increasing from fourth-quarter 2007's 97.9 percent rate.

• Hub Group Inc.'s first-quarter revenue increased 8.1 percent to $425 million compared with first-quarter 2007's total. Intermodal revenue rose 5.2 percent to $302.8 million, truck brokerage revenue jumped 19.9 percent to $89.9 million and logistics revenue increased 6.1 percent to $32.3 million. In addition, the company's diluted earnings per share rose 21 percent to 35 cents.

• PS Technology will introduce iTrakForce, the latest release of its non-operating employee management system, at next month's annual Rail Crew Forum in Las Vegas. iTrakForce is designed to help railroads manage union and seniority rules, and qualifications for maintenance-of-way employees, including mechanical, clerical and engineering department workers.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/25/2008