Trinity Profit Soars, Railcar Orders Hit Record High

Trinity Profit Soars, Railcar Orders Hit Record High

First quarter net income for transportation equipment supplier Trinity Industries was nearly six times higher than a year earlier at $25.6 million, and the CEO reported "record quarterly orders for new railcars of 18,770" units.

A year ago, Trinity was reporting a $7.9 million operating loss for the railcar manufacturing group that has traditionally been its biggest business line. This time its rail group profit was $9.3 million after revenue soared 299 percent to $220 million.

Revenue across all business units jumped 42 percent to $644 million. Operating profit of $85.5 million was up 64 percent, and bottom line profit increased 595 percent from $4.3 million in the 2010 quarter.

Timothy R. Wallace, the chairman, president and CEO, said the swelling railcar order book - including one order for 12,500 cars for GATX over five years -- means railcar revenue will keep rolling in. The big GATX deal, he said, "helps provide a long-term level of consistent production for our railcar manufacturing businesses."

That comes as railroads keep hauling more freight, as carriers and other railcar owners continue to draw down the number of idled cars that were parked across the continent during the recession, and as buyers order new construction of car types in short supply.

Trinity's largest segment of operating profit in the January-March period was $21.7 million from barge manufacturing, up 22 percent from the 2010 quarter. Its revenue was $138 million, up 42 percent.

Its construction products group, which includes steel rebar and other support products for roads and bridges, took in 13 percent more revenue at $134 million, and its $8.3 million profit was 307 percent higher than a year earlier.

Energy group revenue on steel wind towers rose 32 percent to $119 million; operating profit edged up to $10.5 million from $10.4 million.

Trinity also leases railcars and manages car fleets for some customers. That car lease and management unit saw revenue grow 7 percent to $130 million, while profit gained 13 percent to $54.7 million.

-- Contact John D. Boyd at Follow him on Twitter @jboydjoc.