Trinity Industries posts strong Q1 results, raises EPS outlook By Investing.com



Trinity Industries , Inc. (NYSE:) delivered a robust financial performance for the first quarter of 2024, marked by a significant 26% increase in revenue year-over-year. The company’s first quarter future lease rate differential (FLRD) reached 34.7%, which stands as the second-highest in the past four years.

In light of these positive results, Trinity Industries has revised its full-year earnings per share (EPS) guidance upward, now projecting a range between $1.35 and $1.55. This adjustment reflects the company’s higher revenue, margin improvement, and consistent performance across its segments.

Key Takeaways

  • Trinity Industries reports a 26% year-over-year increase in first-quarter revenue.
  • Future lease rate differential (FLRD) for the quarter stands at 34.7%, the second-highest in four years.
  • Full-year EPS guidance is raised to $1.35 – $1.55, due to improved revenue and margins.
  • The Rail Products segment shows significant operating margin improvement.
  • The Leasing and Services segment performs strongly with high fleet utilization and increased lease rates.
  • Replacement-level demand is expected to persist with a healthy backlog of orders.
  • Trinity Industries schedules its Annual Shareholder Meeting for May 20th and Investor Day for June 25th.

Company Outlook

  • Trinity Industries anticipates continued strong demand and a healthy backlog of orders.
  • The company remains optimistic about achieving its performance targets for 2024.

Bearish Highlights

  • Gains on the sale of assets remain a challenge for profitability.
  • The company’s loan-to-value ratio has increased due to refinancing activities.

Bullish Highlights

  • The Rail Products division captures more value with efficiency improvements.
  • Tank car orders are on the rise, benefiting higher-margin markets such as chemicals and alternative fuels.
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Misses

  • Car sales activity in the first quarter was described as modest, with only a $2 million gain.

Q&A Highlights

  • Trinity Industries plans to add $300 million to $400 million in net fleet additions focusing on returns.
  • The company has adopted a disciplined order model, prioritizing profitability even with potential industry average declines.
  • They aim to maintain a loan-to-value ratio between 60% to 65% by year-end, with some unencumbered cars.

Trinity Industries executives conveyed confidence in the company’s strategic direction and ability to improve overall performance and productivity. They acknowledged that the path to enhanced profitability might not be linear, but expressed confidence in the established disciplined order model and focus on profitable deals.

With an eye on the future, Trinity Industries is set to share further progress and insights during their Investor Day on June 25th, after hosting their Annual Shareholder Meeting on May 20th.

InvestingPro Insights

Trinity Industries (NYSE:TRN) has demonstrated a strong start to 2024, with a robust financial performance and positive market indicators. Here are some key InvestingPro Data metrics and InvestingPro Tips that investors should consider:

  • The company’s market capitalization stands at $2.13 billion, reflecting its significant presence in the industry.
  • Trinity Industries is currently trading at a P/E ratio of 22.63, which may be considered favorable when compared to the adjusted P/E ratio for the last twelve months as of Q4 2023, which was 41.06.
  • Revenue growth has been impressive, with a 50.88% increase in the last twelve months as of Q4 2023, indicating strong sales performance and market demand.
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InvestingPro Tips highlight several aspects of Trinity Industries’ financial health and market performance:

1. Trinity Industries has been committed to rewarding shareholders, raising its dividend for 13 consecutive years and maintaining dividend payments for 54 consecutive years, which could be a sign of the company’s financial stability and long-term confidence.

2. Despite the positive revenue growth, the company operates with a significant debt burden, which investors should monitor as it may impact financial flexibility and risk profile.

For those looking to delve deeper into Trinity Industries’ financials and market predictions, there are additional InvestingPro Tips available on the platform. By using the coupon code PRONEWS24, investors can get an extra 10% off a yearly or biyearly Pro and Pro+ subscription to access these valuable insights. With a total of 11 additional InvestingPro Tips listed, including analysis on cash flow and earnings predictions, investors can make more informed decisions regarding their investments in Trinity Industries.

Full transcript – Trinity Industries (TRN) Q1 2024:

Operator: Good day. And welcome to the Trinity Industries First Quarter Ended March 31, 2024 Results Conference Call. All participants will be in a listen-only mode. [Operator Instructions] After today’s presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. [Operator Instructions] Please note, this event is being recorded. Before we get started, let me remind you that today’s conference call contains forward-looking statements as defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and includes statements as to estimates, expectations, intentions and predictions of future financial performance. Statements that are not historical fact are forward-looking. Participants are directed to Trinity’s Form 10-K and other SEC filings for description of certain of the business issues and risks. A change in any of which could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. I would now like to turn the conference over to Leigh Anne Mann, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

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Leigh Anne Mann: Thank you, Operator. Good morning, everyone. We appreciate you joining us for the company’s first quarter 2024 financial results conference call. Our prepared remarks will include comments from Jean Savage, Trinity’s Chief Executive Officer and President; and Eric Marchetto, the company’s Chief Financial Officer. We will hold a Q&A session following the prepared remarks from our leaders. During the call today, we will reference certain non-GAAP financial metrics. The reconciliations of the non-GAAP metrics to comparable GAAP measures are provided in the appendix of the supplemental slides, which are accessible on our Investor Relations website at www.trin.net. These slides are under the Events and Presentations portion of the website, along with the First Quarter Earnings Conference Call event link. A replay of today’s call will be available after 10.30 a.m. Eastern Time through midnight on May 8, 2024. Replay information is available under the Events and Presentations page on our Investor Relations website. It is now my pleasure to turn the call over to Jean.

Jean Savage: Thank you, Leigh Anne, and good morning, everyone. We started 2024 off strong and I am pleased with Trinity’s progress. Our first quarter revenue was up 26% year-over-year and we carried more of that revenue to the bottomline. We continued to reprice more of our fleet upward and had a first quarter future lease rate differential or FLRD of 34.7%. The second highest mark for the FLRD since Trinity began reporting this metric four years ago. Furthermore, we achieved significant margin improvement in our Rail Products business. In summary, our first quarter GAAP EPS of $0.33 represents momentum starting to flow through our business and demonstrates the strength of our platform. This start to the year gives us confidence to raise our full year EPS guidance to a range of $1.35 to $1.55, reflecting higher revenue, margin improvement and consistent performance. Before we talk about our segments and financial results, I’d like to briefly update on what we are seeing in the market. Service levels continue to improve in the industry, allowing shippers to be more efficient in their supply chains. Dwell times are also improving and well below historical averages, allowing quicker turnaround. We’re optimistic that these service metrics will continue in the near term, making rail a more competitive mode of transport. Overall, fleet storage rates also remain low. In terms of end markets, since last quarter, we have seen significant improvement in chemicals. Additionally, despite high levels of inflation and high borrowing costs, automotive demand has remained strong, driven by continued demand for SUVs and the recovery in auto parts supply chain following the supply chain challenges of the past few years. We continue to view this cycle differently, with a more diversified railcar demand. This is encouraging to Trinity as a lessor, as stabilized production levels support a balanced lease fleet, allowing for high utilization and competitive lease rates. And now, let’s talk about our performance at the segment level. As mentioned on our year-end call, effective January 1st, we modified our organizational structure to better leverage our Maintenance Services capabilities to support lease fleet optimization and to grow our Services and Parts businesses. Today’s results are presented in this new format. As part of this modification, we aligned our Maintenance Services business, which was previously part of our Rail Product segment, to now be presented within our Leasing and Services segment. The Leasing and Services segment, which includes Leasing and Management, Maintenance Services, and Digital and Logistics services, had a strong quarter with fleet utilization of 97.5%, renewal rates up 30% over expiring rates, and as I said at the top of the call, an FLRD of a positive 34.7%. Lease rates are substantially higher across nearly all railcar types. Our revenue and margin, excluding lease portfolio sales, are up year-over-year in this segment, driven by higher external maintenance work, improved lease rates and net additions to the lease fleet. Revenue from Maintenance Services is up 122% year-over-year. Digital and Logistics Services revenue is up 25% year-over-year, benefited by the acquisition of RSI and continued growth in these businesses in support of our lease fleet. Giving you a few more details about this business, our average lease rates are up $49 compared to a year ago and we have now repriced about 41% of our fleet in the last two years, representing when the FLRD turned double-digit positive. While our renewal success rate of 65% was lower than usual in the quarter, this was specific to certain end markets, and in some cases, a strategic decision. Put another way, the current supply-driven strength enables us as a lessor to make the optimal lease decision for long-term returns on the asset. We expect our utilization to remain consistent as we continue to renew railcars and assign non-renewing railcars into other services, often at better returns. Our first quarter net investment in our lease fleet was $123 million, which includes new railcar additions, betterments and secondary market purchases of $148 million and $24 million in proceeds from lease portfolio sales. Moving to our Rail Product segment, which includes our Manufacturing business and Parts and Components businesses, we continue to see significant improvement in the operating margin. Higher revenue in the quarter reflects higher deliveries and our operating margin of 6.6% highlights the improvements we’ve made in our operational and labor efficiencies. We are seeing improvement in rail service and supply chain, and our team is doing a great job mitigating issues. Our first quarter performance reflects that dedication. Trinity’s first quarter order volume of 1,880 railcars continues to support our views on replacement-driven demand and we still expect the industry to deliver about 40,000 railcars in 2024. We have seen an encouraging uptick in order inquiries to further support our view of replacement-level demand. Our railcar deliveries were 4,695 and included virtually all of the railcars that were impacted by the border closure at the end of last year. We also completed 675 railcar conversions in the quarter. Our new railcar backlog remains healthy at $2.9 billion. Before I turn the call to Eric, I want to remind you of two important dates. First, our Annual Shareholder Meeting will take place Monday, May 20th at 8.30 a.m. Central Time. Second, make sure your calendars are marked for June 25th. We look forward to hosting you in Texas at our 2024 Investor Day and providing a longer term view of our business. Reach out to Leigh Anne if you have any questions about the event. I’ll now turn to Eric to discuss the financial statements and update our views on the rest of the year.

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Eric Marchetto: Thank you, Jean, and good morning, everyone. I’ll start by comments on the income statement. Total revenues of $810 million, up 26% as compared to a year ago, reflect higher external railcar deliveries, improved lease rates and a higher volume of external repairs. Lease portfolio sales were modest in the quarter and we recorded a gain of $2.1 million. Both quarterly GAAP and adjusted EPS were $0.33 in the quarter, with adjusted EPS reflecting a $0.26 improvement from a year ago. First quarter, favorable segment margin performance was driven by strong lease rates with higher external deliveries and improved efficiency in rail manufacturing. We are seeing the benefits of our platform and are excited by the progress. Moving to the cash flow statement, our cash flow from continuing operations was $57 million and our adjusted free cash flow after investments and dividends was $12 million. Cash from operations was impacted by higher receivables balances, partially offset by lower inventory balances as we delivered railcars that were placed in storage in the fourth quarter. We returned $23 million to our shareholders in the quarter through our quarterly dividend payment. Net fleet investment in the quarter was $123 million. Our last 12 months pre-tax ROE was 16.2%, representing the mid-team goal we set at our 2020 Investor Day. In March, we entered into a new warehouse loan facility with a total commitment amount of $800 million. This replaces the prior $1 billion warehouse loan facility. We right-sized the warehouse facility given our fleet investment expectations. There is more information on our new warehouse in the 10-Q, which we expect to file later today. As we look forward in 2024, we are confident we will deliver strong results. Given a great start to the year and our confidence in the durability of these improved margins, we are raising our full-year EPS guidance by $0.05 to a range of $1.35 to $1.55. We believe this target is attainable and see a lot of momentum in our business to support our elevated guidance. We expect a full year Rail Products Group operating margin of 6% to 8%. We are pleased to start the year in this range and expect to continue to improve as the year progresses. We anticipate a full year net investment in our lease fleet of between $300 million and $400 million, and expect secondary market rail productivity in the second quarter. As Jean said, we like the progress we are making as a company and the fundamentals of the operating environment. We continue to believe our leasing business will benefit from the products and services supporting it. We look forward to discussing our long-term views with you at our Investor Day here in Dallas on June 25th. Operator, we are now ready to take our first question.

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Operator: [Operator Instructions] The first question comes from Justin Long with Stephens. Please go ahead.

Justin Long: Thanks and good morning.

Eric Marchetto: Good morning.

Justin Long: So maybe to start with a couple questions on the numbers going forward. Eric, I think, you talked last quarter about the impact from rail car sales maybe being around half of what it was in 2023 as you think about the full year. Any change to that forecast? On Rail Product Group margins, the guidance didn’t change, but any color you can provide on that cadence of margins as we think about the next few quarters?

Eric Marchetto: Yeah. I’ll start and Jean can talk about the Rail Group. Justin, thanks for your question. At a high level and a short answer, no, we really haven’t changed anything. As you saw in the first quarter on car sales activity, it was very modest, just a $2 million gain and that really our guidance of half the gains from 2023 and 2024 still holds. We do expect that our activity will pick up in the second quarter and we do expect activity to be kind of throughout the year.

Jean Savage: And as far as Rail Products, the hard work that the team has been doing over the last several quarters finally starting to show. When you look at that, our supply chain has gone out and captured more of the value for us and when you look at the efficiency, they’ve come quicker with the longer tenured employees than what we had expected there. And we expect these to continue throughout the year, but we don’t give quarterly guidance on that, so we’re keeping the range of 6% to 8%, and that range is for the entire year.

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Justin Long: Okay. Fair enough. And it was encouraging to see that improvement in margins. I guess on the other side of the coin, just based on the commentary on inquiry levels that you provided last quarter, it sounded like we were starting to see a pickup when you reported in late February. Orders got a little bit better sequentially, but you didn’t see as much of an improvement as I anticipated. So I’m just curious if there’s anything going on as it relates to just converting inquiries to orders and how you’re thinking about order flow in the quarters ahead. Can we get back to an environment where the backlog is improving sequentially?

Jean Savage: So, remember, Justin, that we had in third quarter of 2022 a very large multiyear order. So when you have those big orders come in, sometimes quarter-to-quarter following that, you don’t see quite as large a number happening. We still have just under half the industry backlog sitting on our books. And when you look at the inquiry levels, they continue to improve, even this quarter. And if you look at the orders we received in the quarter, we’re still within our normal range. So it’s still at that replacement level demand that we keep talking about that we see those orders coming in and I think the industry backlog supports that.

Justin Long: Okay. Got it. Thank you for the time.

Jean Savage: Thank you.

Operator: The next question comes from Bascome Majors with Susquehanna. Please go ahead.

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Bascome Majors: Yeah. Thanks for taking my questions. And to follow up on Justin’s last question, can you talk a little bit about where you’re seeing improved inquiry levels and if you’ve seen a greater conversion of that, because I do understand and appreciate the backlog, but with the last six months for the industry being at roughly half replacement rate in orders, it does give us a little bit of pause on whether this production pace can sustain into 2025? Thank you.

Jean Savage: Sure and thanks for the question, Bascome. If you look at it, one thing that is very encouraging to us is we’re starting to see tank car orders creep up and that goes along with the chemicals and the alternative fuels markets, and the second half of the year, we see those coming into play more. As you know, this started out as a freight car-led recovery. So that’s great from the standpoint of typically tank cars have higher margins than freight cars. The other thing that I’m going to say on this is first quarter, there were 9,000 cars scrapped. If you say we have the same number for the rest of the year, that’s 36,000 cars that would be scrapped. Over the last five years, especially 2020 and 2021, there were over 50,000 cars scrapped. So there’s still a lot of room to make up for the numbers of cars scrapped versus built over the last four years or five years. And inquiry levels that we’re seeing still support that replacement-level demand for us and for others.

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Bascome Majors: And on the production plan, can you talk a little bit about how you feel about the cadence in your productivity and whether it should be fairly steady throughout the next couple of quarters based on the visibility you had today or if there will be some ups and downs? Thank you.

Jean Savage: Okay. Thanks, Bascome. It’s never always linear, so I’m going to start with that. But based off the fact that our turnover has reduced, so the tenure of our employees continues to go up, with that tenure we see efficiency improvements. We expect that to persist throughout the year. We are filling out some orders at the end of the year, but overall we’re very confident in our ability to continue to improve our overall performance.

Bascome Majors: And lastly, I know it’s already come up, but I’d love to drill in a little bit more on the gains on sale piece. I mean, that was a meaningful headwind to the full year profit outlook when you rolled that out in February and it sounds like you’re sticking with that. Can you just talk a little bit about maybe qualitatively rather than quantitatively, what you’re seeing in the secondary markets? It does feel like that’s still quite healthy. Just anything about the depth of deals when you put things out there in the marketplace, your conviction that you will be able to extend or find a new primary partner and sort of, if there’s any strategy change to how you’ve done that over the last four years or five years as we look to the next two years or three years? Thank you.

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Eric Marchetto: Sure, Bascome. Yeah. First, I’ll just reiterate, when you look at our increase in guidance, that was all because of the operating margins in the business. We did not change any outlook on gains on sale. So that’s just an improvement in our outlook overall. Our assumptions on the car sales side and the gains are still holding up. And why it’s different, there’s a few things why it’s different. One, we’re originating a little bit less than we have historically. We’re about 25% of our deliveries — of our manufactured deliveries, are going to go to the lease fleet. That’s a little bit less. As you recall in the last call, I referenced that a lot of our planned lease fleet additions were in the back half of the year, in the fourth quarter of the year. So in terms of assuming that we’re going to transact those additions, just is not a good assumption. So we — that’s why we’re holding it there. When you look at just the overall — when you look at the overall secondary market, we’re encouraged. We see breadth and depth. We’re seeing lessors, independent lessors. A lot of their fleet growth is coming from secondary market ads. We’re not seeing a lot of speculative ads into the backlog. They’re shifting more and buying secondary market transactions. So that’s probably a healthier indication for the market. That may have a small impact on backlogs and order activity that we’re seeing on the new car side. But, overall, I think that’s a good thing, as they’re looking to buy known deals rather than speculate. When you look at the other thing that’s driving us is, the lease originations that we’re doing, we like the yield on those assets and we continue to raise our hurdle rates in the face of changes in interest rates, but we like the yield. And so, the $300 million to $400 million of net fleet additions this year, we feel good about that from a return standpoint.

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Bascome Majors: Thank you for the time.

Eric Marchetto: Yeah.

Jean Savage: Thank you.

Operator: [Operator Instructions] The next question comes from Steve Barger with KeyBanc Capital Markets. Please go ahead.

Steve Barger: Thanks. Good morning.

Jean Savage: Good morning, Steve.

Steve Barger: Not to dwell on the past two quarters. I know it can be lumpy, but the industry did average $5,000 per quarter. So I’m just curious about contingency plans. If this is the run rate that we were to see in the back half or for the next year, would you focus on price discipline and returns, even if that meant lower share or do you optimize for share to keep lines as utilized as you can in 2025?

Jean Savage: So we have switched to a discipline model on the orders that we’re taking. I don’t see that changing. We continue to look at orders and say we’ve got to make a profit on those. And so as we move forward, I would expect that to stay. And if you look at the last few quarters, we’ve been in our normal range of orders for — based off the industry, the 30% to 40%, even with that discipline. So we don’t plan to change that. But remember, we’re talking about approximately 40,000 cars for the industry and this cycle is much more muted than any cycle that you’ve seen in the past. So you have lower highs and higher floors going into the cycle and very tight band. So it’s not causing a lot of disruption overall in manufacturing.

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Steve Barger: Understood. Yeah. Thanks. And Slide 8 says LTV is about 66%. You have the 369 million of unencumbered cars. Is that the LTV you expect to maintain at end of year and given the net fleet investment for the rest of the year, will those cars be encumbered this year or how do you think about utilizing that lever?

Eric Marchetto: Yeah. Good question, Steve. And the tick up in LTV this quarter was, I mentioned in my preparatory remarks that we redid our warehouse. We ended up improving our advance rate on those assets and so that’s why it ticked up this quarter. So that was good. We like having a little bit unencumbered. I’ve not really managed the unencumbered as much as managing the overall leverage. Our long-term target is still at 60% to 65%. We do have our Investor Day coming up in June. We’ll revisit that and give longer term views. But right now I would hold to that 60% to 65%. It went up because of the warehouse refinancing.

Steve Barger: Yeah. Got it. Thank you.

Eric Marchetto: Yeah.

Operator: This concludes our question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to Jean Savage for any closing remarks.

Jean Savage: Well, thank you for joining us today. As you hopefully heard in our voices, we’re excited about 2024 and believe Trinity’s off to a great start to reach our targets and to continue to improve. We look forward to sharing our progress with you and hope to see a lot of you on June 25th.

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Operator: The conference is now concluded. Thank you for attending today’s presentation. You may now disconnect.

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