FreightCar America Rumbles Past Estimates

The Chicago-based freight-car maker sees sales jump but is not optimistic for 2009.
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FreightCar America

(RAIL) - Get Report

reported robust fourth-quarter earnings of 70 cents a share on income of $8.3 million, easily beating analyst estimates.

Fourth-quarter revenue was $271.9 million for the Chicago-based railcar maker. Sales for the quarter were up 14% from third-quarter sales of $238 million and up significantly over fourth-quarter 2007 sales of $137.1 million.

Railcar deliveries totaled 3,624 units in the quarter, including 3,394 cars sold and 230 cars leased. That compares with 3,082 units delivered in the previous quarter and 1,605 units delivered in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected EPS of 33 cents.

Shares were declining Tuesday, down $2.29, or 12.2% to $16.42, perhaps due to the company's diminished outlook for 2009.

Fourth-quarter net income increased 12% over $7.4 million for the third quarter of 2008 and improved substantially over a loss of $16.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2007, which was primarily due to $30.8 million in costs associated with the closure of a manufacturing facility in Johnstown, Pa.

"Despite the difficult business environment, we are very pleased with our financial results," said Chris Ragot, president and CEO. "Our team was able to take advantage of year-end customer demand while delivering on important initiatives to strongly position us to weather this industry downturn. We have continued to reduce SG&A costs, reduce year-end inventory levels and preserve the strength of our balance sheet.

"Looking forward for 2009, activity is sluggish and we anticipate a significant reduction in railcar deliveries for the year. We will continue to aggressively reduce expenses throughout the company in order to enhance profitability and conserve cash."

The total backlog of unfilled orders was 2,620 units at the end of 2008, compared with 4,401 units at Sept. 30, 2008 and 5,399 units at Dec. 31, 2007.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.