Wednesday, May 06, 2009

FreightCar America beats Street; shares still fall

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FreightCar America Inc. Tuesday reported a first-quarter profit of $2.6 million, or 22 cents a share, compared with a loss of $10.2 million, or 87 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2008. Beyond the obvious turnaround, the company’s profit also beat Wall Street consensus estimates of 13 cents per share.

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That didn’t stop Wall Street from punishing shares of the company Tuesday and early Wednesday. Analysts cited as reasons revenue  falling short of expectations, and declines in new orders, deliveries, and backlog. First-quarter revenue of $39.6 million fell far short of analyst expectations of $109.9 million; the amount also was down from $95.1 million in the first quarter of 2008.

FreightCar America shares continued to fall Wednesday morning, and were down 72 cents or nearly 4% to $17.32 Wednesday afternoon, after retreating more than 10% on Tuesday.

Company Chief Executive Chris Ragot said the company remains in a cost-cutting mode, with first-quarter selling, general, and administrative expenses 15% below the comparable 2008 quarter. "We will continue to assess market conditions and are prepared to make further reductions as necessary," he said.

Ragot also said, “Despite the challenging market conditions, we are pleased with our financial results for the first quarter.” He added, “The preservation of our strong balance sheet is critically important and our highest priority. Our cash position and liquidity remain strong, with cash on hand of approximately $130 million at the end of April. We maintain two credit facilities totaling $110 million, both of which are undrawn.”

Net orders for new railcars totaled 339 units in the first quarter of 2009, which represents a decrease of 1,367 units or 80% from 1,706 units ordered in the fourth quarter 2008. Railcar deliveries totaled 974 units in the quarter, including deliveries of 374 cars sold and 600 cars leased. This compares to 1,287 total units delivered in the first quarter of 2008. Total backlog of unfilled orders was 1,985 units at the end of the quarter, compared with 2,620 units at the end of the fourth quarter of 2008.