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Sagging rail car shipments route FreighrCar America into red

Keywords: Tags  FreightCar America, coal car market, coal cars, quarterly results, coal cars, orders, Joe McNeely, backlog income

LOS ANGELES — FreightCar America Inc. fell into the red in the third quarter due to a drop in rail car deliveries, which was triggered by a decline in coal-related demand.

The Chicago-based manufacturer delivered 937 rail cars (194 new rail cars and 743 rebuilt rail cars) in the three months ended Sept. 30, up 32 percent from the second quarter, but down 72.7 percent from 1,618 rail cars in the same period last year.

The company posted a net loss of $926,000 in the quarter in contrast to net income of $4.8 million in the same period last year on revenue that fell 52.7 percent to $75.9 million.

"While the outlook for the broader coal car market remains mixed, we are encouraged by the resilience in the Eastern coal car market, as evidenced by the large rebuild orders we received during the quarter," chief executive officer Joe McNeely said.

FreightCar America, which claims to account for 70 percent of the U.S. coal car market, has seen a sharp falloff in this business. The company’s manufacturing segment recorded operating income of $4.3 million on revenue of $66.9 million in the third quarter vs. operating income of $13.9 million on revenue of $152.5 million in the year-ago period.

However, following the end of this year’s second quarter, the company disclosed a surge in orders for 5,500 cars, including 4,000 rebuilt coal cars (, Aug. 5), with the remainder of the orders for new cars outside of the coal market.

FreightCar America’s manufacturing backlog totaled 7,129 rail cars at the end of September compared with 2,065 units three months earlier and 3,716 units a year ago.

The company opened a plant in Shoals, Ala., earlier this year as part of its effort to diversity outside the coal market.

FreightCar America posted total orders of 6,001 units in the third quarter, which included 4,000 rebuilt coal cars, compared with orders for 693 units in the second quarter and 225 units sold in the same period last year.

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