Tuesday, February 17, 2009

FreightCar America expects downturn in 2009

Written by  Luther S. Miller, Senior Consulting Editor

FreightCar America President and CEO Chris Ragot says the company expects  ”a significant reduction in railcar deliveries” in 2009, but after a strong finish in 2008 is well-positioned  to ride out the downturn.

Fourth-quarter 2008 earnings increased 12% to $8.3 million over earnings of  $7.4 million for the third quarter of 2008 and were up substantially over a loss of $16.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2007, which was mainly due to costs of $30.8 million connected with the closing of a plant in Johnstown, Pa., said  the company in a financial report Tuesday.

“Despite the difficult business environment, we are very pleased with our financial results,” said  Ragot. “Our team was able to take advantage of year-end customer demand while delivering on important initiatives to strongly position us to weather this industry downturn.”  He said efforts will continue to “aggressively” reduce expenses.

FreightCar America had a backlog of 2,620 cars on order as of Dec. 32, 2008, compared to a  backlog of 5,399 cars on Dec. 31, 2007.