Greenbrier CEO says remains open to talks with Icahn

Wed Jan 9, 2013 12:19pm EST

Jan 9 (Reuters) - Greenbrier Cos Inc remains open to talks with Carl Icahn about a merger with American Railcar Industries Inc, the railcar maker's chief executive said, after rejecting two takeover offers from the billionaire investor in the last month.

Icahn-controlled American Railcar offered to buy Greenbrier in December for about $550 million and later raised its offer. The offers were rejected by Greenbrier as too low.

The activist investor, who built up a stake of 10 percent in Greenbrier before making the offer, has now reduced it to 3.4 percent.

A combination with American Railcar would have to successfully integrate the two management teams and make the merged company less cyclical, Greenbrier CEO William Furman told analysts in a post-earnings conference call.

Greenbrier shares, which have fallen nearly 35 percent in 2012, were up as much as 6 percent at $18.25 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Earlier in the day, the company reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and said railcar deliveries for the year will be in the upper end of its prior forecast range.

Since the 2008 recession, Greenbrier has focused on diversifying its product lines and increased its exposure to the energy markets. It makes hopper and tank cars, which carry frack sand and oil, respectively.

Strong demand from the energy sector has enabled Greenbrier to ramp up production and successfully increase prices.

The high growth rates of 2011 and 2012, however, are moderating.

The Lake Oswego, Oregon-based company expects to deliver 13,000 railcars for the year ending Aug. 31, down from 15,000 it delivered last year.