Trinity Industries, North America’s largest railcar manufacturer and builder of barges, wind towers and steel construction supports, saw third-quarter profit and revenue leap at its railcar building and lease units.
Barge production also showed a strong increase from the 2010 quarter, Trinity said, despite a second year when floods hampered factory operations in Missouri and Tennessee.
The company's Rail Group manufacturing arm had an operating profit of $18.2 million, up more than fivefold from $3.3 million a year earlier. Revenue in that unit soared 144 percent to $320.9 million, as railcar building this year has moved ahead of construction products to reclaim its traditional role as Trinity’s largest business line.
The company shipped 3,605 railcars to customers in the July-September period and took orders to build 4,250 more. A year earlier, it shipped just 1,140 cars and booked 2,010 in orders.
Trinity had a car building backlog on Sept. 30 of 27,885 units, which was up just 2.4 percent from the end of June but was more than five times larger than the 4,860-car backlog when the 2010 third quarter ended.
That activity is in line with a continued moderate growth outlook from major railroads and their customers, although railcar output trails the timing of changes in actual freight shipment demand.
The Railcar Leasing and Management Services Group had a 21.4 percent operating profit gain to $64.2 million, as profit jumped 25.4 percent to $153.1 million.
The company's wind tower sales also grew to $112 million, but that energy unit turned in a $2 million operating loss after a $6 million profit in the 2010 third quarter. Wallace said Trinity is transitioning tower production to build larger wind units “and we expect their performance will begin to show improvement.”
Across all its businesses, Trinity had a 7.4 percent profit gain to $31.9 million, as sales rose 48 percent to $797 million.