First-quarter revenue of $182.1 million also was $13 million below revenue in the comparable quarter of 2013, and also below Wall Street expectations of $203.2 million.
St. Charles, Mo.-based ARI attributed the results to lower revenue in the company's manufacturing segment.
But KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. analyst Steve Barger said the results were "likely driven by a higher concentration of tank cars, which we think was offset by lower deliveries. This would be the second-best gross margin result in ARII's history, rivaled only by 4Q13's gross margin of 25.3%.
"For the quarter, ARII delivered 1,610 railcars, which included 480 cars designated for the lease fleet," Barger said in a note to clients late Wednesday. "That compares to our expectation of 2,000 deliveries, which included 1,450 third-party cars and 550 cars for the lease fleet. We estimate ARII took orders for 1,650 railcars in the quarter for a unit book-to-bill of 1.02x."
ARI's backlog as of March 31 was approximately 8,600 railcars, including approximately 2,840 railcars for lease. ARI had approximately 8,560 railcars in its backlog as of December 31, 2013, including approximately 2,330 railcars for lease.