(Corrects second bullet to clarify that rising asset prices may hurt growth, not profits. Also drops reference to tepid 2012 from headline as the mean forecast calls for a 24 percent year-over-year growth. The error in the headline first appeared in Update 1)
- Leasing company GATX Corp
However, growth beyond its existing committed railcar orders will become more challenging as asset prices rise, the company said in a post-earnings call. Backlog in tank car market is still over 12 to 15 months, it said.
GATX, valued at about $2 billion, forecast a 2012 profit of $2.40 to $2.60 a share. Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of $2.55 a share, according to Thomson Reuters
The company -- which also leases out equipment to marine and other industrial customers -- expects to raise rates on the 20,000 railcars that are scheduled for renewal in North America this year, Chief Executive Brian Kenney said in a statement.
The rail segment, which handles tank, freight car, and locomotive leasing, contributed about 71 percent to Chicago-based GATX's revenue in the fourth quarter.
For the quarter ended December 31., GATX's net profit rose to $31.6 million, or 67 cents a share, from $19.5 million, or 42 cents a share, last year.
Analysts had expected earnings of 55 cents a share.
Revenue rose 14 percent to $350.4 million, higher than the $328.3 million anticipated by analysts.
Shares of the company rose about a percent to a more-than-three-year high of $45.50 Thursday morning on the New York Stock Exchange, but were down about a percent at $44.47.
The stock has gained about 25 percent since GATX reported third-quarter results last October.
(Reporting by Ritika Rai in Bangalore; Editing by Sreejiraj Eluvangal, Unnikrishnan Nair)