Per-share earnings were up substantially from Wall Street consensus estimates of 74 cents per share.
Third-quarter revenue of $593.3 million was up 37% from revenue of $433.7 million in the year-ago period, and also surpassing consensus estimates of $571 million. Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Greenbrier's 2014 third quarter ended May 31, 2014.
Said Chairman and CEO William A. Furman, "This quarter represents a solid and sustainable performance level, and provides a good base for further growth and diversification. All three of our business segments improved their financial performance, with manufacturing and leasing continuing to lead the way. I am very proud of our employees for their achievements and execution against our strategic plan."
"We have diversified our product mix, added efficient capacity in lower cost facilities, and driven considerably more product through our leasing model, all in line with our announced strategy. This strategy is paying off and we expect growth from all areas in our integrated business model in the quarters ahead," Furman said.
"Most recently, our planned repair joint venture with Watco, named GBW Railcar Services, will increase our scale in tank car repair, allowing us to participate in a meaningful way in the growing tank car repair business, with demand driven by retrofit, lining and maintenance needs from both the DOT-111 legacy and CPC-1232 fleets, as well as rapid growth in North American tank car traffic," Furman continued.
"In addition to tank car retrofits, we are also pioneering efforts to improve safety in the rail industry with our Tank Car of the Future design. Safety design features include thicker steel, more robust top and bottom outlet protections, and jacketed shells with ceramic insulation, along with full height head shields," said Furman.
Greenbrier said its railcar backlog as of May 31, 2014 was 26,400 units, with an estimated value of $2.75 billion (average unit sale price of $104,000), compared with 15,200 units with an estimated value of $1.54 billion (average unit sale price of $101,000) as of February 28, 2014, the end of the company's fiscal second quarter.
New railcar deliveries totaled 4,300 units for the third quarter, compared with 3,400 units for the second quarter. Orders for 15,600 new railcars valued at $1.65 billion received during the quarter. After quarter end, Greenbrier received orders for an additional 2,700 units valued at approximately $320 million.
In a note to clients Wednesday, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. analyst Steve Barger observed the third-quarter "aggregate gross margin hit 16.3% ahead of the company's stated goal of a minimum 13.5% by 4Q14, on the back of favorable product mix, pricing, and production efficiencies. More important, the management believes that this quarter represents a 'solid and sustainable' performance level, paving the way for upward revisions in forecasted margins and EPS.
"Railcar unit book-to-bill in the quarter was 3.63x (book 15,600; bill 4,300), and at quarter-end backlog stood at 26,400 railcars with a combined value of $2.75 billion (implies $104,000 per car) vs. 15,200 railcars valued at $1.54 billion last quarter (implies $101,000 per car)," Barger added.