Rail and marine leasing company GATX Corp profits fall

Rail and marine leasing company GATX Corp. said on Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit fell as it struggled through “the weakest rail market in decades.”

The company’s profit of $21.5 million, or 45 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Dec. 31 was down 25.6 percent from its profit of $28.9 million, or 58 cents per share, recorded in the year-ago period.

The latest quarter’s results included a tax benefit of 15 cents per share, and a loss on interest rate swaps of 5 cents per share. Excluding those, profit was 35 cents per share.

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Revenue fell 6.5 percent to $302.5 million from $323.7 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected profit of 36 cents per share on revenue of $281.7 million. Analysts generally exclude one-time items from their estimates.

President and CEO Brian A. Kenney said only 4.1 percent of the company’s fleet wasn’t being used. But lease rates are under pressure. It shortened the term of lease renewals, which will leave GATX free to raise rates sooner if the market recovers.

The company’s shares fell $1.43, or 5 percent, to $27.07 in midday trading.

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