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Greenbrier Optimistic on Recovery After Second-Quarter Loss

Greenbrier was lower after the railcar producer swung to a loss on lower revenue. But the CEO is optimistic about a second-half recovery.

Shares of Greenbrier  (GBX) - Get Greenbrier Companies Inc. (The) Report fell on Tuesday after the freight-transportation-equipment supplier swung to a fiscal-second-quarter loss on a 52% decline in revenue.

At the same time, Chairman and Chief Executive William A. Furman said in a statement that the company's "near-term outlook is becoming increasingly optimistic as rail fundamentals improve."

At last check shares of the Lake Oswego, Ore., producer of railcars and marine barges were trading 7.1% lower at $44.82.

For the quarter ended Feb. 28 Greenbrier swung to a loss of $9,1 million, or 28 cents a share, from profit of $13.6 million, or 41 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter.

Revenue in the second quarter, which Furman said he expected to be the "most challenging" of the fiscal year, dropped to $295.6 million from $623.8 million.

The second-quarter results reflected the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and inclement winter weather, Greenbrier said.

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“Operating challenges emerged from a range of sources, including winter weather, impacting deliveries and production,” it said.

Furman says Greenbrier is “well-positioned for an economic recovery. “Our pipeline of new business inquiries in North America has expanded dramatically in the last 30 days.” 

The executive cited a number of potentially positive developments:

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-- “Rail loadings are up year-to-date, driven by increased traffic in grain, intermodal and other categories.”

-- “Proposed environmental and other regulations in both North America and Europe should support secular demand for rail as a growing mode for freight transport.”

-- “Fiscal stimulus and proposed infrastructure legislation are expected to further add to demand."

In the second quarter Greenbrier received orders for 3,800 new railcars valued at more than $440 million. 

The railcar backlog at Feb. 28 was 24,900 units, with an estimated value of $2.5 billion.

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“Greenbrier's ability to adjust production capacity to meet our market outlook enables us to rapidly ramp manufacturing as we earn new railcar orders,” Furman said.

“We have already restarted several production lines supported by firm orders to meet increased demand,” he added. 

The company also said on Tuesday that it completed the formation of GBX Leasing, a subsidiary that will own and manage a portfolio of leased railcars largely built by Greenbrier. 

Parent Greenbrier will hold 90% of GBX Leasing and Longwood Group, the Chicago transportation adviser and asset manager, will hold 10%.