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Rail News: Financials

Year-end financials: Greenbrier records revenue, profitability growth

On Nov. 12, The Greenbrier Cos. issued the kind of fourth-quarter financial statement that never gets stale for management, shareholders or other investors: The freight-car builder and refurbisher had a good quarter, a good year — and, likely, will log another good year in 2004.

"The new rail-car market in North America is clearly in the midst of a recovery," said William Furman, president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement, adding that higher production rates, and improved margins and operating efficiencies continue to keep Greenbrier on the profitability track.

For the quarter ended Aug. 31, Greenbrier recorded net earnings of $3.3 million, or 23 cents per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $2.3 million, or 16 cents per diluted share, for the same 2002 period.

Greenbrier recorded fourth-quarter revenues of $108 million, a 20 percent increase compared with the same 2002 period; for the year, the company had revenues of $435 million, a 42 percent increase compared with the same period last year. The surge in new-car deliveries in North America drove the increases: For the quarter, Greenbrier delivered 1,800 units, compared with 1,200 units during the same 2002 period. For fiscal 2003, Greenbrier delivered 5,600 units, a 70 percent increase compared with 3,300 vehicles in fiscal 2002.

"In 2004, the company anticipates deliveries will approach 8,000 rail cars," said Mark Rittenbaum, senior vice president and treasurer.

Greenbrier’s also got backlogs in both North America and Europe that’ll stretch into fiscal 2005. As of Aug. 31, the backlog included 9,000 units valued at $440 million from North American operations and 1,700 units valued at $140 million from European operations, where Greenbrier continues to make progress on the recapitalization front, Furman said. The company recently entered into a non-exclusive letter of intent with private investors, subject to financing, documentation and final approval by Greenbrier's board.

"Greenbrier Europe has returned to profitability and has produced substantially improved financial results," Furman said.

The company’s maintenance management services unit also posted growth, highlighted by a recent agreement to manage freight-car repair billing for Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Greenbrier owns about 12,000 rail cars and performs management services for 115,000 cars.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/12/2003