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Why Shares of Greenbrier Companies Inc Plunged Last Month

By Travis Hoium – Feb 9, 2016 at 10:25AM

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Falling energy prices are even impacting the railcar business.

What: Shares of Greenbrier Companies Inc (GBX 1.41%) plunged another 20.7% in January, adding to the 39% the stock lost in 2015. The culprit in January was the company's 2016 guidance.

So what: Early in January, Greenbrier reported fiscal first-quarter results that were actually a record for the company. Revenue jumped 62% to $802.4 million, and net income was $69.4 million, or $2.15 per share. 

But investors were disappointed by just 500 new railcar orders during the quarter and by backlog falling from $4.71 billion to $4.14 billion in just three months. Even though earnings guidance of $5.65 to $6.15 per share was in line with what analysts expected, there was too much concern that falling oil prices would lead to weakened demand.

Now what: While falling backlog is a concern for any company, I think some context is needed with Greenbrier. Shares now trade at just 4.4 times 2016 earnings estimates, which is pricing the company as if it's going out of business. The balance sheet isn't too bloated, with just $488.6 million in debt, so if management can control costs while backlog decreases and pay down debt to reduce long-term risk, I think this could be a great entry point for investors. The rail business isn't going anywhere, and even though demand from energy companies may wane, the need for railcars will continue well into the future.

Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends The Greenbrier Companies. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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