I should know better than to tempt fate, but you can look at Genesee & Wyoming's
Consequently, this wasn't exactly a banner quarter. True, revenue was up 22%, but same-rail revenue growth (similar to same-store growth) was more on the order of 4.6%. Profitability was also mixed. Straight-up operating income was down 2%, but if you adjust for certain costs and impacts (including Mexico), the operating ratio still improved on a year-over-year basis.
At some level, then, this was a pretty good case of "good news/bad news." It was good to see revenue per carload up almost 6% and same-rail revenue per carload up almost 9% on nearly 7% higher pricing. By the same token, a 6% decline in same-rail traffic wasn't so good and does highlight the vulnerability of Genesee & Wyoming relative to Class 1 operators like Norfolk Southern
If you're willing to turn the page and look ahead, though, the picture seems brighter. The company is sitting on a big pot of capital and I can all but guarantee that some of that will go toward purchasing more rail operators. I think the odds are good that you won't know the company when they announce a deal (since they buy small operators) and/or they'll buy smaller pieces from bigger operators.
Additionally, there are some good old-fashioned organic growth opportunities. A new port in Virginia could mean more business from CSX
Since I've shied away from this stock for a while because of its valuation, the slide in the price (down 30% in less than a month) makes this very, very tempting. It's something of an odd duck in the railroad space, though, so make sure you do a little extra due diligence before buying your own ticket on this growing short-line operator.
All aboard for more Foolishness:
- Canadian Pacific Brings Up the Rear
- Norfolk Southern's Crazy Train
- Can Genesee & Wyoming Juice Its Caboose?
Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).