The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. reported financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended Nov. 30, 2013 . In a release on Jan. 8 , Greenbrier noted first quarter highlights: -Net earnings for the quarter were $16.0 million , or $0.51 per diluted share, excluding restructuring charges (net of tax) of $0.6 million , on revenue of $490.4 million . "Economic" EPS was $0.56 , which excludes restructuring charges and the impact of out-of-the- money shares underlying our 3.5 percent convertible bonds. -Net earnings attributable to Greenbrier for the quarter, which includes restructuring charges, were $15.4 million , or $0.49 per diluted share. -Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $50.0 million , or 10.2 percent of revenue. -New railcar backlog as of November 30, 2013 was 13,500 units with an estimated value of $1.43 billion (average unit sale price of $106,000 ) compared to 14,400 units with an estimated value of $1.52 billion (average unit sale price of $106,000 ) on August 31, 2013 . -New railcar deliveries totaled 3,700 units for the quarter, compared to 3,500 units for the quarter ended August 31, 2013 . -Received orders for 2,500 new railcars valued at $230 million during the quarter. Subsequent to quarter end, Greenbrier received orders for another 1,100 units valued at approximately $130 million . -To date, repurchased 110,400 shares of common stock at a cost of $3.4 million , under a $50 million share repurchase program. Progress on Strategic Initiatives -To date, closed or sold six underperforming or non-core facilities in the Wheels, Repair & Parts segment; one additional shop to be closed by the end of January 2014 . Restructuring and realignment continues in this business segment. -Improved gross margin for the quarter to 12.6 percent, more than halfway to fourth quarter 2014 minimum goal of a 200 basis point improvement to at least 13.5 percent gross margin. -Substantially met $100 million minimum capital efficiency goal originally scheduled to be met by February 2014 . Net debt reduced by $90 million since February 28, 2013 ; management continues to focus on capital liberation. William A. Furman , president and chief executive officer, said: "We continue to gain momentum from our strong finish to fiscal 2013, with sustained performance by Manufacturing, our largest segment, leading the way. With gross margin of 13.4 percent, an expansion of 110 basis points over the previous quarter, Manufacturing is meeting higher expectations set for fiscal 2014. Leasing & Services is also meeting expectations. We continue to refine our leasing model, including a reduction in the permanent capital invested in this business. Wheels, Repair & Parts produced disappointing financial results, but within the results are solid improvements at a number of locations, and about $2 million of costs that adversely affected margin, which we do not expect to recur in the future." "Our diversified product offerings create superior value. Currently, less than 50 percent of our backlog is in tank cars, with the balance in a variety of railcar types. Demand for our comprehensive line of automotive carrying railcars remains robust. In the energy markets, increasing demand for sand used in fracking techniques to extract difficult-to-access oil and gas is leading to growing sales of our small cube covered hopper cars. We still see strong demand for tank cars. Market conditions in Europe are improving, and order activity for our European operations has picked up after a long period of softer demand in the region." "We anticipate that new repair work, particularly in tank cars, will have a positive impact on our Wheels, Repair & Parts segment. We are progressing on necessary changes in our shop network and operations to improve performance, and expect to have better financial results in the quarters ahead." "Consistent with our strategy to reduce permanent capital invested in Leasing & Services, we continue to sell lease fleet assets for positive returns, while maintaining syndication and asset management revenues. Our managed fleet grew by 7,000 units during the quarter. We continue to enter into comprehensive management and maintenance solutions with our customers, an area of increasing opportunity for the Company." "Overall, rail fundamentals are solid. We are confident that Greenbrier is well-positioned to take advantage of a number of established and emerging opportunities, as well as to achieve our margin enhancement and capital liberation goals. We expect our business will expand across all segments, and to realize operating leverage and growth in ROIC. The $50 million stock repurchase program initiated during the first quarter is another significant step to enhance shareholder value," concluded Furman. Business Outlook Based on current business trends and industry forecasts, in fiscal 2014 Greenbrier continues to believe its: -Deliveries will exceed 15,000 units -Revenue will exceed $2 billion -EPS, excluding restructuring charges, will be in the range of $2.45 to $2.70 As disclosed previously, financial results in the second half of the year are expected to be stronger than the first half. Also, while gross margin is expected to increase overall, management does not believe its track will be linear. Greenbrier, headquartered in Lake Oswego, Ore. , is a supplier of transportation equipment and services to the railroad industry. Greenbrier builds new railroad freight cars in its four manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Mexico and marine barges at its U.S. facility. It also repairs and refurbishes freight cars and provides wheels and railcar parts at 35 locations across North America . Greenbrier builds new railroad freight cars and refurbishes freight cars for the European market through both its operations in Poland and various subcontractor facilities throughout Europe . Greenbrier owns approximately 8,300 railcars, and performs management services for approximately 231,000 railcars. More information: www.gbrx.com ((Comments on this story may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org ))
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