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Rail News: Financials

Financials: RailAmerica increases quarterly, annual revenue; reduces debt-to-capital ratio

On Feb. 19, RailAmerica Inc. reported fourth-quarter revenue of $93.9 million, a 12.3 percent increase compared with the same 2002 period. Operating income of $18.6 million rose slightly.

However, quarterly net income of $6.5 million — excluding a Canadian tax charge — decreased 3.2 percent and operating expenses of $75.3 million increased 15.5 percent compared with fourth-quarter 2002.

"RailAmerica continued to see revenue growth exceeding industry averages in the fourth quarter … [and] saw carload increases in 11 of our 14 commodity groups," said RailAmerica Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Marino. "While we are actively pursuing the sale of Freight Australia, we are very encouraged by the results of the recent grain harvest. Our December and January carloading reports [show] agriculture commodity carloads up 89 percent from the comparable prior periods."

For all of 2003, RailAmerica posted revenue of $358.4 million, a 7.5 percent increase compared with 2002. The short-line holding company's annual income from continuing operations and net income was $24.7 million and $14.7 million, respectively, compared with $2.5 million and $2.2 million, respectively, in 2002. Despite higher fuel costs, RailAmerica's North American operating ratio of 77.3 improved 0.5 points.

"We are pleased that we reduced our net debt-to-capital ratio from 64 percent on Dec. 31, 2002, to 58 percent on Dec. 31, 2003, and continue to target 50 percent by Dec. 31, 2004," said RailAmerica Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Michael Howe. "We remain focused on generating free cash flow, increasing our return on invested capital, managing risk, controlling costs and improving our capital structure."

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