American Railcar Industries, Inc. (ARII) CEO John O'Bryan on Q3 2018 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

|
About: American Railcar Industries, Inc. (ARII)
by: SA Transcripts

American Railcar Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARII) Q3 2018 Earnings Conference Call October 30, 2018 10:00 AM ET

Executives

Luke Williams - Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

John O'Bryan - President and Chief Executive Officer

Analysts

Brian Colley - Stephens

Operator

Good morning. My name is James, and I will be conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Q3 2018 American Railcar Industries Incorporated Earnings Conference Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. And after the speakers' remarks there will be a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] Thank you. Please note that this call is being recorded today October 30, 2018.

I would now like to turn the call over to Senior Vice President and CFO, Luke Williams. Please go ahead.

Luke Williams

Thank you, James. Good morning.

I would like to welcome you to the American Railcar Industries third quarter 2018 conference call. I am Luke Williams, our Chief Financial Officer, and I would like to thank you for joining us this morning. For those who are interested, a replay of this call will also be available on our Web site, americanrailcar.com, shortly after this call ends. Joining me this morning are John O'Bryan, our President and Chief Executive Officer and Yevgeny Fundler, our General Counsel.

Our call today will include comments about the railcar industry, our operations and financial results. Following these remarks, we will have a question-and-answer session.

This conference call will include forward-looking statements, including statements as to estimates, expectations, intentions and predictions of future financial performance based on currently available information. Participants are directed to our SEC filings and press releases for a description of certain business issues and risks, a change in any one of which could cause our actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements.

Also, please note that the company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements made during the call. EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA are non-GAAP financial measures we will discuss today that are reconciled to net earnings in our press release that was issued this morning. The press release is available through the Investor Relations page of our Web site, as is a supplemental information presentation.

Now, it's my pleasure to introduce John O'Bryan.

John O'Bryan

Thank you, Luke, and good morning. Thanks for joining us this morning.

The North American Railcar market has continued to show signs of recovery including carload growth driven by a variety of commodity types and a continued decline in rail cars and storage. The industry reported quarterly orders of nearly 25,000 railcars which represents its highest point since the fourth quarter of 2014. The pricing environment is slowly recovering, but remains competitive.

During the third quarter of 2018, we received orders for 8,482 railcars and delivered 654 rail cars. Our orders were for direct sale and lease for a variety of hopper and tank rail cars including 7,650 rail cars ordered through the agreement with GATX. This increased our backlog to 11,215 railcars at quarter end and we currently expect 13% of that will go to our leased fleet. Consistent with our guidance last quarter, we expect all our overall shipments for 2018 to come in below 2017 levels.

Last week we announced a merger agreement whereby our company will merge with a subsidiary of ITE Rail Fund. We currently expect to complete the merger in the fourth quarter of 2018. Completion of the merger is subject to various conditions and it is possible that factors outside of the parties can control could result in the merger being completed at a later time or not at all. As we work with the ITE team to complete the merger, we continue to focus on our vision of aligning people, process and tools to deliver world class results in safety, quality and service.

We have filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the merger and when completed a definitive information statement containing information with respect to the merger required by applicable securities laws will be mailed to the company's stockholders. Investors are urged to carefully read the definitive information statement regarding the proposed merger and any other relevant documents in their entirety when they become available because they will contain important information about the proposed merger.

In light of the information contained in our securities filings and including the information that will be contained in our definitive information statement once it is complete, we will not be discussing the pending merger further at this time. Rather this morning's call will focus on our quarterly financial results.

I now turn it back to Luke for a discussion of our third quarter financial results.

Luke Williams

Thank you, John.

Third quarter 2018 consolidated revenues were $100 million down 17% versus $121 million for the same period in 2017. This decrease was primarily driven by a decrease in our manufacturing segment with lower railcar shipments for direct sale partially offset by an increase in our railcar services segment.

Consolidated earnings from operations for the third quarter of 2018, were $22 million up to 12% compared to $20 million for the same period of 2017. Our consolidated operating margins were 22% for the third quarter of 2018 compared to 16% for the same period of 2017. These increases were primarily driven by increased earnings from operations in our railcar leasing and railcar services segments partially offset by decreased earnings in our manufacturing segment.

Consolidated manufacturing revenues were $41 million for the third quarter of 2018 compared to $68 million for the same period in 2017. This decrease was primarily driven by lower railcar shipments for direct sale for both hopper and tank railcars partially offset by higher selling prices due to the mix of railcar shipped during 2018 compared to 2017.

We shipped 267 railcars for direct sale and 387 railcars for lease during the third quarter of 2018 compared to shipments of 618 railcars for direct sale and 338 railcars for lease during the third quarter of 2017.

Railcars built for our lease fleet represented 59% of our total railcar shipments during the third quarter of 2018 compared to 35% for the same period in 2017. Consolidated manufacturing revenues exclude estimated revenues related to rail cars built for our leased fleet of $40 million for the third quarter of 2018 compared to $33 million for the same period in 2017.

Consolidated manufacturing segment loss from operations was $4.5 million for the third quarter of 2018 compared to earnings from operations of 0.59 for the same period of 2017. Operating margin from our manufacturing segment was negative 11.1% for the third quarter of 2018 compared to 0.7% for the same period in 2017. These decreases were primarily due to decreased railcar shipments, higher fixed costs incurred based on lower production volumes, more competitive pricing for both hopper and tank rail cars and certain inefficiencies encountered in our manufacturing facilities including the direct and indirect costs associated with our efforts to hire train and retain workers to meet current demand for both hopper and tank railcars. These earnings from operations excluded $2.6 million in estimated profits on railcars built for our lease fleet for the third quarter of 2018 and $3.3 million for the same period of 2017. The estimated profits on railcars built for our lease fleet are eliminated in consolidation. Our railcar leasing revenues for the third quarter of 2018 were $32 million down 3% from the same period in 2017.

Our lease fleet has grown to 13,721 rail cars at September 30, 2018 from 12,749 railcars at September 30, 2017. Although we continue to strategically grow early fleet, we continue to experience suppressed weighted average lease rates for new railcars for lease and existing railcars through lease renewals or reassignments. As of September 30, 2018, our lease fleet utilization was approximately 97%.

Railcar leasing segment earnings from operations on a consolidated basis for the third quarter of 2018 were $30 million compared to $22 million for the same period in 2017. This increase was primarily due to a gain of $10 million generated by an early termination of a lease with a customer and an increase in railcars and lease fleet partially offset by increased maintenance costs and lower lease rates.

The railcars subject to the early lease termination were reassigned to another customer. Without the impact of this gain, railcar leasing earnings from operations on a consolidated basis would have been $20 million for the third quarter of 2018. Our consolidated rail car services revenues for the third quarter of 2018 were $27 million up 42% compared to the same period of 2017. This increase was primarily due to revenue generated from retrofit projects partially offset by lower demand for traditional repair services.

Railcar services earnings from operations on a consolidated basis where $2.5 million or an operating margin of 9.5% for the third quarter of 2018 compared to $1.7 million for an operating margin of 9.2% for the same period in 2017. This increase in operating margin was primarily due to a ramp up of activity for retrofit projects partially offset by lower demand for traditional railcar services.

Consolidated selling, general and administrative expenses increased $1.7 million in the third quarter of 2018 compared to the same period of 2017 due primarily to higher expenses for share based compensation resulting from fluctuations in our stock price as well as other increased compensation costs partially offset by decreased legal expenses. Earnings from our joint ventures were 400,000 for the third quarter of 2018 compared to 200,000 for the same period of 2017.

This increase was primarily due to continued profitability and lower interest expense at our Axis joint venture. Our Ohio Castings joint venture remains idle.

Net earnings for the third quarter of 2018 were $13 million or $0.69 per share compared to $9 million or $0.46 per share for the same period in 2017. This increase was driven largely by the gain recorded on an early lease termination which had a positive impact of $7.4 million net of tax or $0.39 per share and lower income tax expense as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted in December 2017 decreasing the federal income tax rate from 35% to 21% partially offset by a decrease in earnings from operations excluding the previously mentioned gain.

EBITDA, adjusted to exclude share-based compensation expense and income on short-term investments was $39 million for the third quarter of 2018 representing an increase of 14% compared to the same period in 2017. The increase resulted primarily from the early lease termination payment partially offset by decreased earnings from operations excluding this payment as discussed previously.

Our earnings contributed to positive cash flow from operations of $91 million during the first nine months of 2018 and we ended the quarter with net working capital of $147 million including $74 million of cash and cash equivalents. As of September 30, 2018, we had $527 million of debt outstanding under our January 2015 lease fleet financing facility.

At this time, I'd like to turn it back to John for some additional comments.

John O'Bryan

Thanks Luke. In our view, the railcar market is continuing the slow improvement that we saw during the first half of the year and we are encouraged by recent trends. However, current market pricing remains below long-term averages and we expect to maintain a disciplined strategy that optimizes volume, price and service.

We will continue to work diligently to resolve the inefficiencies at our manufacturing plants including the direct and indirect cost to hire and train new team members and ramp up production. The entire ARI team is committed to the journey of continuous improvement and innovation as we focus on aligning people, process and tools to deliver world-class results in safety, quality and service.

I would like to thank the ARI team members for their hard work and support and serving our customers, shareholders and industry partners. During the third quarter of 2018, we worked diligently to finalize the merger agreement. I would like to thank ARI's Chairman and Board Members for their wise counsel and support.

Now we'll turn the call back over to the operator and we'll be happy to take your questions. However, as I stated earlier we do not intend to address the merger further at this time. For information about the merger, we direct investors to the filings that we have made and will make with the SEC. Operator, would you please explain how participants can register their questions?

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

[Operator Instructions] And our first question comes from the line of Brian Colley from Stephens. Go ahead please. Your line is open.

Brian Colley

Hey, good morning, guys and congrats on the merger.

Luke Williams

Thanks Brian.

John O'Bryan

Thank you.

Brian Colley

So, just wondering, if you could comment on both lease rates and entry levels in terms of how they trended throughout the third quarter and maybe if you've seen any material change so far in October?

John O'Bryan

We continue -- this is John. Good question, Brian. First of all, on the inquiry and demand side, we continue to see a robust level of inquiries particularly on the tank cars and some of the hopper car family. We've seen a slight improvement in lease rates, but as we mentioned it's still a competitive marketplace.

Brian Colley

Okay. Got it. And then, could you just talk about what you're seeing in terms of crude tank car demand and is it possible to share how many crude tank cars in your backlog today and how many you're thinking -- or I guess how are you thinking about the potential for incremental orders and deliveries for that car type moving forward?

John O'Bryan

Sure. From a market perspective, we have seen an up tick in inquiries for crude tank cars particularly for the crude by rail market in Canada and a little bit of the market in the U.S. We don't comment at the detail in our backlog at this time, but I think if you've heard on some of the other calls in recent times, we have seen an up tick in the market particularly the Canadian crude by rail opportunities.

Brian Colley

Got it. All right. I appreciate the time today.

John O'Bryan

Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] And there are no further questions at this time, I turn the call back over to our presenters.

John O'Bryan

Thank you. That concludes our conference call this morning. Thank you to everyone that participated. Have a good day.

Operator

This concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect.