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Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies' CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Stocks in this article: WAB

As for new locomotives, including kits, the industry should surpass 1,200 units this year, compared to almost 1,100 in 2011. Globally, freight markets remain fairly healthy as well. In China, for example, railway cargo hit a record high in March, with tonnage increasing by 4% in the first quarter. In the U.K., freight traffic was up about 13% in the most recent quarter. And Brazil and Australia also continued to be strong, although future growth depends heavily on China's economy.

Let's switch now to the Transit market. We continue to see stable markets in the U.S. and abroad. In the U.S., ridership was up 3.7% in the fourth quarter and 2.3% for all of 2011. In 2012, transit car deliveries will be about 1,000, slightly up from last year and, bus deliveries will be about 4,500, slightly down from last year.

Looking at U.S. federal funding, Congress passed another extension for the existing Transportation Bill. This would last till July 1. You must remember that the Transportation Bill expired back in September 2009, and what we have seen is just extension after extension. It's really a very uncertain when a new Transportation Bill might be passed, but it seems very unlikely to happen this year.

However, you must remember that the funding has remained at about the same during these temporary extensions. But a multiyear bill will give transit agencies the planning horizon they need to dust off long-term projects. It would also be a positive indication when a long-term bill is passed for transit. Many agencies are faced with the dilemma. As ridership is increasing, state and local funding remains tight, so some have been forced to make service cuts.

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