Propelled by surging rail equipment demand, railcar and barge maker Greenbrier Companies saw profit jump 64 percent to $12.6 million in the fiscal fourth quarter ending Aug. 31.
Greenbrier said revenue of $442.7 million was a fourth quarter record, and was up 148 percent from the same period in 2010.
President and CEO William Furman also sees the rail demand continuing. “We believe our industry fundamentals are sound, and that several forces are driving new railcar demand that are uncoupled from the more uncertain economic and political environments.”
Those cycle-resistant factors include increasing diversion of truck traffic to rail, which boosts the need for intermodal well cars to carry large domestic containers, and growing North American energy demand for hopper and tank cars. In addition, he cited “stronger railroad balance sheets” that give carriers more room to buy high-demand cars, along with replacement demand for aging units.
“We continue to see strength in our end markets across each of our business segments and our new railcar backlog continued to grow in our fourth quarter,” Furman said. That means Greenbrier execs think they have “good visibility” into demand trends and “confidence that we can support higher new railcar production levels in fiscal 2012,” he said.
In the June-August period, Greenbrier delivered a record 4,000 railcars, up from 700 in its final 2010 quarter and part of a 2011 fiscal year that saw 9,400 deliveries in all.
As of Aug. 31, Greenbrier’s new railcar manufacturing backlog was for 15,400 units valued at $1.23 billion. That was up from 5,300 cars worth $420 million a year earlier and a backlog last May 31 to build 13,600 worth $1.05 billion.