GATX Corporation's CEO Discusses Q42011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

GATX Corporation ( GMT)

Q42011 Earnings Call

January 19, 2012 11:00 am ET

Executives

Jennifer Van Aken – Director, Investor Relations

Brian A. Kenney – Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Robert C. Lyons – Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Analyst s

Derek Rabe – Morgan, Keegan & Company, Inc.

Steve Barger – KeyBanc Capital Markets

Paul Bodnar – Longbow Research LLC

Steve O’Hara – Sidoti & Company

Matthew Dodson – Edmunds White Partners

Richard Fitzgerald – Jefferies Investment Advisers, LLC

Kent Mortensen – Thrivent Asset Management LLC

Zahid Siddique – Gabelli & Company, Inc.

Kyle Joseph – JMP Securities

Gregory Macosko – Lord, Abbett & Co.

Presentation

Operator

Good day and welcome to the GATX Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call. Today’s conference is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Jennifer Van Aken, Director and Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Jennifer Van Aken

Thank you Michelle and good morning everyone. Thanks for joining us for the fourth quarter and 2011 year-end conference call. With me today are Brian Kenney, President and CEO of GATX Corporation and Bob Lyons, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

As a reminder any forward-looking statement made on this call represents our best judgment as to what may occur in the future. We have based these forward-looking statements on information currently available and disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise these statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances. The company’s actual results will depend on a number of competitive and economic factors some of which maybe outside the control of the company. For more information, refer to our 2010 Form 10-K and the second quarter 2011 10-Q filings for discussion of these factors. You can find these reports as well as other information about the company on our website www.gatx.com.

I'll keep my remarks brief this morning as Brian will provide some commentary on GATX’s performance in 2011 and what to expect in the year ahead. After that we’ll take questions.

Today, we reported 2011 fourth quarter net income of $31.6 million or $0.67 per diluted share. This includes the aggregate positive impact of $1.9 million or $0.05 per diluted share from tax benefits and other items which are detailed on page 12 of the press release. This compares to 2010 fourth quarter net income of $19.5 million or $0.42 per diluted share which includes the aggregate positive impact from Tax Benefits and Other Items of $4.5 million or $0.09 per diluted share.

For the full-year 2011 net income was $110.8 million or $2.35 per diluted share including the aggregate positive impact of $15.8 million or $0.34 per diluted share from tax benefits and other items. Again these items are detailed on page 12 of the press release. By comparison, 2010 net income was $80.8 million or $1.72 per diluted share including an aggregate positive impact of $6.2 million or $0.13 per diluted share from tax benefits and other items.

The first quarter and full-year 2011 results are reflective of our favorable operating environment. In rail, utilization was strong ending the year at 98.2% in North America and 97.1% in Europe. We maintained this utilization while achieving lease rate increases.

During the fourth quarter the lease price index improved to 13.2% resulting in a full-year LPI of 6.9% stronger than what we anticipated coming into the year. During 2011 we took delivery of more than 1,100 rail cars ordered under our five-year supply agreement.

Total investment volume across GATX was $615 million in 2011 compared with $585 million in 2010. American Steamship Company carried 28.4 million net tons of cargo in 2011 compared with 28.0 million in 2010. Due to favorable weather conditions in the fourth quarter ASC was able to make up a good portion of the volume lost due to a brief strike by the American Maritime Officers Union in August.

Portfolio management also had a solid year. Asset remarketing results were improved and Rolls-Royce and Partners Finance had strong performance. In the coming year leases on over 20,000 rail cars are scheduled for renewal in North America. We expect the lease price index to be positive, likely in the positive mid-teens and for utilization to remain steady.

We also anticipate continued asset remarketing opportunities and somewhat better demand at American Steamship Company. As we look to the year ahead, as noted in this morning's press release, we currently expect 2012 earnings to be in the range of $2.40 to $2.60 per diluted share.

With that overview, I will turn it over to Brian.

Brian A. Kenney

Thanks, Jennifer. Between the press release and Jennifer's comments you should have a pretty good understanding of what drove our financial performance in 2011 and what to expect from an EPS perspective in 2012. So what I’ll do is I'll briefly touch on a few strategic issues and then talk a little bit about how some of our GATX may change in 2012.

As we have detailed repeatedly on prior earnings calls our rail strategy during the downturn was to add rail cars at the more attractive prices that were available in the down market. And then to keep lease term short, in order to capitalize on an eventual market recovery.

And that growth strategy was successful and it culminated in the largest railcar order in GATX's history in the first quarter of 2011. It was also very because [towards] it’s timing as the recovery in the rail market accelerated beyond our expectations in 2011. And that was just as we were taking delivery in the new cars under the new committed order [Audio Gap] cars that we added to the fleet during the downturn.

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