WLRoss-Greenbrier Rail Holdings, which was formed by WL Ross & Co., a private equity firm, and The Greenbrier Companies, announced Friday that it has acquired a lease portfolio of nearly 4,000 railcars valued at approximately $230 million.
The new company is owned by affiliates of WL Ross for the purpose of acquiring railcar assets to be managed by Greenbrier, which will receive management and other fees and incentive compensation tied to performance.
WLR–GBX said it intends to seek additional opportunities to acquire railcar lease portfolios.
William A. Furman,president and CEO of Greenbrier, said, “The formation of WLR–GBX and this portfolio acquisition are consistent with our stated strategy to use the WL Ross relationship with Greenbrier as a platform to pursue growth in less cyclical, higher margin, after-market opportunities. The pursuit of these opportunities through structured transactions, which Greenbrier helps originate and manage and in which WL Ross makes a direct investment, leverages our core competencies. The transaction will be accretive to earnings and presents the potential for the company to participate in significant upside.”
Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of WL Ross, said, “The company is well-positioned for the expected rebound in demand for freight cars and the long-term growth resulting from rail’s fuel efficiency compared with motor freight.”
A short line plots land use development and alternative energy options, along with acquiring a right-of-way, to best advantage—and beats recessionary odds.
Parsons Brinckerhoff has appointed Richard A. Schrader chairman, succeeding Keith J. Hawksworth, who is retiring after 33 years with the firm.
In his new position, Schrader, currently Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, “will provide broad policy oversight for PB,” the company said. PB has begun an executive search process for a CFO to succeed Schrader, who has been with PB for 27 years and has been a member of the firm’s Board of Directors since 1992.
Prior to joining PB in 1983, Schrader served on active military duty in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for 11 years with assignments on military construction projects, including command of an engineer company in Germany.
He has also served on the faculty of the United States Military Academy at West Point as Assistant Professor in theDepartment of Social Sciences. He has a bachelor’s degree from West Point, a master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and an MBA from Long Island University.
Hawksworth, who joined PB in1976, served as CEO from December 2007 through December 2009 and during that time led a strategic planning process that resulted in PB’s October 2009 merger with Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group operating in professional services, construction services, support services, and infrastructure investments.
Prior to his appointment as CEO, Hawksworth was Chief Operating Officer of PB’s International division. He also served as head of PB’s Asia-Pacific operation and was PB’s Principal-in-Charge on many of the firm’s largest international projects.
“I look forward to having Rich as a partner in guiding PB going forward,” said PB President and CEO George J. Pierson. “I will continue to rely on Rich’s extensive expertise in financial management and will look to him for assistance in determining PB’s strategic direction.”
Schrader will also undertake additional duties in service of Balfour Beatty Group.
New York City Transit's subway and bus system will eliminate 1,722 jobs—by layoffsor attrition—by July 4, according to information filed with state authorities.
The planned elimination of the V and W subway routes and dozens of bus lines is responsible for the latest round of layoffs. These will cost the jobs of 122 subway car inspectors and 500 bus drivers.
New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Jay Walder earlier announced plans to lay off 500 subway station agents and to eliminate 600 administrative positions through layoffs or attrition.
The staff reductions will make a dent, though not a big one, in MTA's looming $800 million operating budget deficit.
Both U.S. carload freight and intermodal traffic showed strength in the week ended April 24, the Association of American Railroads reported Thursday. Carload volume was at its highest level since the first week of December 2008, while weekly intermodal volume reached its highest level this year, AAR said.
U.S. carload freight was up 14.6% from the corresponding week in 2009, while still down 10.8% from the comparable week in 2008. U.S. intermodal traffic rose 15.1% from last year but trailed the 2008 total by 5.4%.
All 19 carload commodity groups were up from last year, led by gains in commodities associated with the steel industry: metallic ores, up 163%; metals, up 80.2%; waste and scrap, up 59.7%; and coke, up 12%.
Other notable increases included 25.3% for motor vehicles and equipment; 45.% for primary forest products; 22.8% for lumber and wood products; and 13.1% for chemicals.
Canadian carload freight for the week ended April 24 was up 22.5% from the comparable period in 2009, while intermodal traffic rose 10.1%. Mexico’s two major railroads reported carload freight rose 27.3% from the comparable 2009 week, while intermodal inched up 4.8%.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 16 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 7.6% from last year, while intermodal advanced 9.9% from a year ago.
American Railcar Industries late Wednesday reported a first-quarter net loss of $7.0 million, or 33 cents per share, on revenue of $52.3 million, compared with earnings of $2.7 million, or 13 cents per share, in the comparable quarter of 2009.
The company attributed the lower revenue to lower railcar shipments and decreases overall average railcar selling prices, due to pricing pressures and a change in product mix. It noted such decreases were partially offset by increased railcar repair volumes due to completed facility expansions and the utilization of its railcar manufacturing facilities for railcar repair projects.
“The railcar industry, while still at a low point of the economic cycle, appears to be picking up momentum with reports showing that railcar loadings have increased and many stored railcars are returning to service,” said President and CEO James Cowan. “Along with this modest improvement, which may or may not continue, we have received an increased number of requests for quotations and have been successful in securing several orders in 2010. Both of our railcar manufacturing facilities have maintained production throughthe downturn, albeit at low levels. In spite of the weakness in new railcar manufacturing, our railcar services segment has been strong with 36% growth in revenues, year-over-year, to $16.7 million for the first quarter of 2010. This growth resulted from higher volumes driven by repair plant expansions and repair work performed at our railcar manufacturing plants.”
Cowan added, “We are also pleased to announce that the financing for Amtek Railcar Industries Private Limited, our Indian joint venture, was completed and a facility is currently under construction to manufacture railcars to service the Indian markets.”
During the first quarter, ARI shipped approximately 340 railcars as compared to approximately 1,490 railcars in the same period of 2009. Its backlog as of March 31 totaled approximately 500 railcars.
Trinity Industries, Inc. late Wednesday reported first-quarter revenue of $454.0 million, down from $793.5 million for the samequarter of 2009. Net income of $2.0 million, or $0.07 per common diluted share, included pretax transaction expenses related to the acquisition of Quixote Corp. that totaled $4.3 million. Net income for the same quarter of 2009 was $33.9 million, or $0.43 per common diluted share.
The company noted that its Rail Group had revenue of $73.6 million with an operating loss of $7.9 million in the first quarter, compared with revenue of $283.9 million and an operating loss of $5.8 million in the year-ago period. And one Wall Street analyst noted that the company’s earnings per share beat analyst expectations.
Trinity said its railcar backlog had increased during the quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2009. As of March 31, TrinityRail’s order backlog totaled approximately $250 million, representing approximately 2,980 railcars, compared with a backlog of approximately $195 million, representing approximately 2,320 railcars at December 31, 2009. TrinityRail shipped approximately 500 railcars and received orders for approximately 1,150 railcars during the first quarter.
“We were encouraged during the first quarter by the orders we received in our rail, barge, and structural wind towers businesses that increased their backlogs since year-end, as well as the continued improvement in the utilization of our railcar lease fleet,” said Timothy R. Wallace, Trinity’s chairman, CEO, and president. “We were pleased during the first quarter to complete the acquisition of Quixote Corporation and the integrationis going very smoothly. We maintained strong liquidity during the first quarter, with $522.8 million in unrestricted cash and short-term marketable securities which contributed to a total liquidity of $1.2 billion at March 31, 2010.”
Steve Barger, director, Industrial Manufacturers, for KeyBanc Capital Markets, Inc., said the company’s optimism was justifiable. “In our view, TRN continues to execute very well through the downturn, and we continue to believe its diversified business model will allow it to stay EPS [earnings-per-share] positive through this cycle. Of note, TRN enjoyed its first positive book-to-bill ratio in its Rail Group “since the second quarter of 2008,” Barger wrote.
Genesee & Wyoming Inc. Thursday said its first-quarter net was $16.0 million, up 15% from $13.9 million recorded in the first quarter of 2009. GWI's diluted earnings per share of 39 cents was up one penny from the year-ago quarter.
Revenue of $145.6 million was up $7.1 million, or 5.1%, compared with $138.5 million in the year-ago period, though the company noted appreciation of the Australian and Canadian dollars, as well as the euro, versus the U.S. dollar increased revenue by $8.4 million. Excluding foreign currency appreciation revenue fell declined $1.3 million, or 0.9%.
GWI noted that carload traffic increased significantly in March, up 5.0% compared with March 2009 and up 17.8% from February 2010. Total carload traffic for the quarter still lagged the 2009 period by 5.6%. But the company’s operating ratio was 79.3% in the quarter, a 1.8 percentage point improvement over the 81.1% operating ratio in the first quarter of 2009.
Said GWI President and CEO John C. Hellmann, “Our first-quarter financial results were a good start to 2010. In late February, our traffic began to strengthen in several commodity groups including steel and grain, and we continued to control our costs. The result was an operatingratio of 79.3%, which is a first-quarter record in the history of GWI. We are focused on sustaining this level of operating efficiency for the remainder of the year, regardless of the pace of improvement in the economy.”
Dallas Area Rapid Transit has set December 6, 2010 as the date for completion of the final sections of the Green Line light rail project. Two sections, one from MLK, Jr. Station near Fair Park south to Buckner Station in Pleasant Grove, and from Victory Station northwest to North Carrollton, will open on that date, completing the 20-station, 28-mile, $1.8 billion project, according to DART spokesman Morgan Lyons.
The section from Fair Park to Pleasant Grove includes four stations: Hatcher, Lawnview, Lake June, and Buckner. A featured stop will be the 6,000 acre Great Trinity Forest near Lawnview Station. The largest urban hardwood forest in the United States is also home to the Trinity River Audubon Center, which has nature trails and hands-on exhibits.
Destinations along the 11 stations north of Victory Station include the Market Center and Medical Districts, a Love Field Airport connection from Inwood Station, and Farmers Branch and Carrollton.
Bachman Station is also the junction for the Orange Line, which will connect Irving and Las Colinas by 2012. As reported earlier this week, the Denton County Transportation Authority’s A-Train diesel multiple-unit (DMU) service is scheduled to connect to the Green Line at Trinity Mills Station in Carrollton, Tex.
Lyons says that according to data provided by the American Public Transportation Association, DART is responsible for more than 25% of all light rail construction in North America. DART’s current expansion programs will expand the LRT system to more than 85 miles by 2012. The extensions are expected to add 60,000 weekday passenger trips, essentially doubling ridership on the DART rail system by 2030.
Canadian Pacific earned first-quarter net income of C$100 million, an increase of 74% from first-quarter 2009. Earnings per share were C$0.59, up from C$0.36 and ahead of the Wall Street consensus estimate of C$C0.51.
“We put in a solid performance this quarter, and our results reflect both improvements in the economy and CP’s proven ability to rapidly adjust to changes in our customers' demands,” said Fred Green, president and CEO.
Other highlights of CP’s first-quarter report:
* Total revenue was C$1.2 billion, up 5% from C$1.1billion.
* Operating expenses were C$962 million, down 2% from C$977 million.
* Operating income increased to C$205 million from C$132 million, or 55%.
* Operating ratio improved 570 basis points to 82.45%.