While we don’t know definitively, a part of Wabtec Corp.’s pre-owned locomotive order may not have been reflected in its guidance and could mean a mild incremental benefit, according to four rail and rail equipment expert panelists at TD Cowen’s June 27 virtual roundtable on the current state and outlook of the rail, locomotive, and railcar leasing and manufacturing markets.
Author: Matt Elkott
For The Greenbrier Companies (GBX), we see gradually subsiding volatility in revenue, margins and earnings over the next three to five years. This is as the company targets higher—albeit measured—lease fleet growth, and as the right-sized manufacturing footprint for GBX and the industry should mean less erratic annual builds.
The call on the Class I’s by other rail industry stakeholders to pursue modal share gain more aggressively is nothing new, but this year at Railroad Financial Corporation’s annual Rail Equipment Finance conference, it feels more palpable than at any time in many years.
Cowen and Company examines whether Caterpillar, Inc. could explore strategic alternatives for its transportation business, or at least the rail piece. An enterprise value-to-revenue multiple of 2.5x-2.75x may not be unreasonable, putting the transportation business value at approximately $12 billion.
Tightness across a wide array of freight cars has continued, and with supply chain challenges limiting the industry’s ability to produce to demand, the lease rate momentum looks sustainable, according to expert panelists at Cowen and Company’s Jan. 19 webinar on the current state and outlook of the rail, locomotive, and railcar leasing and manufacturing markets.
GATX has taken advantage of low interest rates over the past few years to improve its debt profile, which is currently 90% fixed, with an average maturity of 10 years. Meanwhile, spot lease rates are expected to continue their seven-quarter run of sequential growth. This should lead to progressively higher returns for the company, which is now likely to focus on locking into much higher lease terms.
On May 31, we held a discussion with five expert panelists who provided insights into the current state and outlook of the rail, locomotive and railcar leasing and manufacturing markets. Overall, railcar demand recovery has been driven largely by freight cars, but our panelists indicated that tank car utilization and rates are rising. If this continues and eventually leads to higher tank builds, it could be a margin tailwind for manufacturers. As for the broader railcar market, inquiries remain strong, but labor and disruptions could limit production. Locomotive upgrades remain solid.
March 9 was Investor Day for Wabtec (WAB), and its five-year margin target is ahead of consensus for the next three years (the maximum available). Revenue and EPS targets are not inconsistent with Street expectations. Cowen and Company believes WAB’s geographic breakout could position it well as some rail commodities shift from Russia to other world regions.
Cowen and Company on Feb. 15 held a webinar with five expert panelists addressing the current state and outlook for the rail, locomotive, and railcar leasing and manufacturing markets.
Takeaways from Cowen and Company’s recent Rail Equipment Webinar show that locomotive upgrades remain solid, as traffic growth continues. Elevated inquiries for newly built railcars should begin to translate into orders gradually, despite the steel premium. Lessors are well-positioned as freight demand rises, railcar supply decreases and new builds fall short of replacement levels this year.