FreightCar America expects downturn in 2009

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

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.