RailAmerica lost $40.2 million in the first quarter, as an $82.4 million charge related to the early retirement of debt offset a 15 percent year-over-year revenue increase.
The 44-small railroad holding company increased total revenue to $143.4 million, as freight revenue rose 10 percent on increased pricing and a 3 percent rise in volume. The average revenue per carload, a key measure of pricing, rose 7 percent to $500 from the same period a year ago.
"Our positive momentum continues to build as reflected in our record first quarter revenue and operating income excluding 45G benefits and asset sales,” said President and CEO John Giles. “On a comparable basis, operating income was up 57 percent as we leveraged strong revenue growth and productivity gains.”
He said the company was closing in on its purchase of a 70 percent interest in Wellsboro and Coming Railroad, and the Northeast short-line railroad’s transload operator subsidiary, TransRail North America. Giles said RailAmerica expects to complete the acquisition of Marquette Railroad, a Michigan short-line railroad, in May.
The Jacksonville, Fla.-based company’s operating ratio improved 2.8 percentage points to 77.8 percent from the same period in 2010. Operating income, excluding 45G tax benefits, rose to $31,876.