Rail Traffic Slowed down in January

North American rail traffic dropped 17.4% in week ended January 8

The Association of American Railroads, AAR, reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending January 8.

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 440,761 carloads and intermodal units, down 16% compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending January 8 were 210,020 carloads, down 10.6% compared with the same week in 2021, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 230,741 containers and trailers, down 20.4% compared to 2021.

For the first week of 2022, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 210,020 carloads, down 10.6% from the same point last year; and 230,741 intermodal units, down 20.4% from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first week of 2022 was 440,761 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 16% compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ending January 8, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 288,324 carloads, down 13% compared with the same week last year, and 298,984 intermodal units, down 21.2% compared with last year.

Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 587,308 carloads and intermodal units, down 17.4%.

North American rail volume for the first week of 2022 was 587,308 carloads and intermodal units, down 17.4% compared with 2021.

Publicly traded companies in the space include CSX (CSX), Canadian National (CNI), Canadian Pacific (CP), Kansas City Southern (KSU), Norfolk Southern (NSC), Union Pacific (UNP), FreightCar America (RAIL),Trinity Industries (TRN) and Greenbrier (GBX).

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Merger in the railroad space!

Canadian Pacific to buy Kansas City Southern in $29B deal

Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) and Kansas City Southern (KSU) announced they have entered into a merger agreement, under which CP has agreed to acquire KCS in a stock and cash transaction representing an enterprise value of approximately $29B, which includes the assumption of $3.8B of outstanding KCS debt.

The transaction, which has the unanimous support of both boards of directors, values KCS at $275 per share, representing a 23% premium, based on the CP and KCS closing prices on March 19, 2021.

Following the closing into a voting trust, common shareholders of KCS will receive 0.489 of a CP share and $90 in cash for each KCS common share held.

Following final approval from the Surface Transportation Board, the transaction will combine the two railroads to create the first rail network connecting the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

Canadian Pacific Rails

Joining seamlessly in Kansas City, Mo., in America’s heartland, CP and KCS together will connect customers via single-network transportation offerings between points on CP’s system throughout Canada, the U.S. Midwest, and the U.S. Northeast and points on KCS’ system throughout Mexico and the South Central U.S.

While remaining the smallest of six U.S. Class 1 railroads by revenue, the combined company will be a much larger and more competitive network, operating approximately 20,000 miles of rail, employing close to 20,000 people and generating total revenues of approximately $8.7 billion based on 2020 actual revenues.

Combined Companies Rails

The combination is expected to be accretive to CP’s adjusted diluted EPS in the first full year following CP’s acquisition of control of KCS, and is expected to generate double-digit accretion upon the full realization of synergies thereafter.

To fund the stock consideration of the merger, CP will issue 44.5 million new shares.

The cash portion will be funded through a combination of cash-on-hand and raising approximately $8.6B in debt, for which financing has been committed.

As part of the merger, CP will assume approximately $3.8B of KCS’ outstanding debt.

Following the closing into trust, CP expects that its outstanding debt will be approximately $20.2B. Pro forma for the transaction, CP estimates its leverage ratio against 2021E street consensus EBITDA to be approximately 4.0-times with the assumption of KCS debt and issuance of new acquisition-related debt.

In order to manage this leverage effectively, CP will be temporarily suspending its normal course issuer bid program, and expects to produce approximately $7B of levered free cash flow over the next three years.

CP estimates its long-term leverage target of approximately 2.5x to be achieved within 36 months after closing into trust.

The combined company will remain committed to maintaining strong investment grade credit ratings while continuing to return capital for the benefit of shareholders.

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Stein Mart files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Stein Mart voluntarily files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Stein Mart (SMRT) announced that it and its subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida – Jacksonville Division.

Stein Mart files for bankruptcy protection

Stein Mart offers designer and name-brand fashion apparels, home decor merchandise, accessories, and shoes at everyday discount prices in the United States. As of June 3, 2020, it operated 281 stores in 30 states. The company was founded in 1908 and is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Company has filed customary motions with the Bankruptcy Court that will authorize, upon Bankruptcy Court approval, the Company’s ability to maintain operations in the ordinary course of business, including, among other things, the payment of employee wages and benefits without interruption, payment of suppliers and vendors in the normal course of business, and the use of cash collateral.

Too much savings caused Stein Mart’s demise

These motions are typical in the Chapter 11 process and the Company anticipates that they will be approved shortly after the commencement of its Chapter 11 case.

Details on the Company’s Chapter 11 process and go-forward strategy are as follows:

The Company expects to close a significant portion, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores and, in connection therewith, the Company has launched a store closing and liquidation process.

The Company, however, will continue to operate its business in the ordinary course in the near term; and the Company is evaluating any and all strategic alternatives, including the potential sale of its eCommerce business and related intellectual property. 

SMRT last traded at $0.18.

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Rig counts stay flat!

Baker Hughes reports U.S. Rig Count unchanged versus last week at 251

Baker Hughes (BKR) reports that the U.S. Rig Count is unchanged from last week at 251 with oil rigs down one to 180, gas rigs up one to 69, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at two.

Baker Hughes report weekly rig counts on Fridays, Stockwinners

U.S. Rig Count is down 691 rigs from last year’s count of 942, with oil rigs down 590, gas rigs down 102, and miscellaneous rigs up one to two.

The U.S. Offshore Rig Count is unchanged at 12 and down 10 year-over-year.

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Rig Counts unchanged- Stockwinners

The Canada Rig Count is up three rigs from last week to 45, with oil rigs up one to 11, gas rigs up one to 33, and miscellaneous rigs up one one.

Canada Rig Count is down 92 rigs from last year’s count of 137, with oil rigs down 80 and gas rigs down 13 and miscellaneous rigs up one.

Canada rig counts rose last week

Brent crude is up 20 cents to $43.45 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude is up 24 cents to $40.16 per barrel.

Gasoline last traded at $1.16 per gallon. Price chart for gasoline has turned bearish having pierced it’s 50-day moving average suggesting gasoline may drop to a buck per gallon.

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Truck sales decline in November

Classes 5-8 truck orders soften in November amid trade and tariff worries

Truck sales downturn could be canary in the coal mine

There are eight classes of commercial motor vehicles in the United States, and they’re divided into three, more general categories: light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty. Commercial motor vehicles or trucks that operate on U.S. highways can be classified based on their gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).

ACT Research said in an earlier report:

“Preliminary November data show that Classes 5-8 net order volumes were uniformly soft. Combined NA Classes 5-8 intake fell 15% m/m and 38% y/y in November on a nominal basis. Preliminary North America Class 8 net order data show the industry booked 17,500 units in November, down 20% from October, while Classes 5-7 orders fell 8% m/m, to 15,300 units.

Complete industry data for November, including final order numbers, will be published by ACT Research in mid-December.

Various Classes of Vehicles, Stockwinners

ACT’s State of the Industry:

Classes 5-8 report provides a monthly look at the current production, sales, and general state of the on-road heavy and medium duty commercial vehicle markets in North America. It differentiates market indicators by Class 5, Classes 6-7 chassis and Class 8 trucks and tractors, detailing measures such as backlog, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders, and retail sales.

Additionally, Class 5 and Classes 6-7 are segmented by trucks, buses, RVs, and step van configurations, while Class 8 is segmented by trucks and tractors with and without sleeper cabs.

This report includes a six-month industry build plan, backlog timing analysis, historical data from 1996 to the present in spreadsheet format, and a ready-to-use graph package.

A first-look at preliminary net orders is also published in conjunction with this report.

“Preliminary November data show that Class 8 net orders failed to sustain October’s encouraging start to the order season,” said Tim Denoyer, ACT’s Vice President and Senior Analyst.

He continued, “The freight market downturn worsened in the past month and uncertainty surrounding trade and tariffs continue to weigh on truck buyers’ psyches. With rising pressure on carrier profits from the combined impact of lower rates and the recent, rather sudden jump in insurance premia, recent events have not developed in the industry’s favor.” Denoyer concluded,

“While private fleets continue to add capacity on the retail end, the market is increasingly heeding for-hire price signals and the stage is being set to right-size the fleet, bringing it closer to equilibrium with the work to be done.”

Historically, Dow Jones Transports have sold off prior to the rest of the market. The .djt has turned bearish as is shown above.

Publicly traded companies in the space include ArcBest (ARCB), J.B. Hunt (JBHT), Knight-Swift (KNX), Old Dominion (ODFL), Swift Transportation (SWFT), Werner (WERN), Paccar (PCAR), Navistar (NAV)and Cummins (CMI).

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Wabco to exit Meritor WABCO joint venture

Wabco agrees to buyout of Meritor WABCO joint venture

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WABCO Holdings (WBC) announced that it will further expand its commitment and operations in the commercial vehicle market in North America by taking full ownership of the Meritor WABCO joint venture. WABCO has signed an agreement to purchase Meritor (MTOR) stake in the joint venture business.

WABCO’s purchase price is $250M. The transaction is expected to close on October 1, 2017 and immediately prior to closing, Meritor will receive a final closing partnership distribution.

Meritor WABCO, employing approximately 200 persons, is headquartered in Troy, Michigan, U.S.A. and had sales of $300M in fiscal year 2016.

It currently sells and distributes a range of WABCO’s leading safety and efficiency technologies for commercial vehicles in North America.

With this agreement, WABCO will take over the former joint venture’s application engineering and supply chain operations, including the distribution center and customer service hub in Hebron, Kentucky.

In addition, WABCO will continue to have exclusive access to a winter test track in Sault St. Marie, Michigan, and joint access to a year-round test track in East Liberty, Ohio to support local customers.

Following closure of the buyout, WABCO has agreed for Meritor to continue to be its exclusive distributor for a certain range of WABCO’s Aftermarket products in the U.S. and Canada, and its non-exclusive distributor in Mexico.

In connection with the purchase transaction, both parties have the option to terminate the distribution arrangements at certain points during the first three and half years, for an exercise price between $225M-$265M based on the earnings of the business.


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Travel Stocks Lower on Hurricane Irma

Cruise line operators slammed as Irma prepares to make landfall

Cruise Line Stocks tumble as Iram approaches Florida. See Stockwinners.com for details

Shares of cruise line operators are in focus amid concerns about the potential impact of Hurricane Irma on the cruise and travel industries, as well as the lingering effect of Hurricane Harvey.

HURRICANE IRMA

Hurricane Irma, which has intensified into a Category 5 storm, is forcing cruise operators to cancel or divert ships as it heads towards the Caribbean and the Florida coast.

The National Hurricane Center has said Irma is a “potentially catastrophic storm” with winds up to 185 miles an hour that will move toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico later this week and then make its way toward Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and Cuba before heading toward the Florida coast. Hurricane Harvey recently caused widespread damage when it hit the Houston area, with cruise operators rerouting some vessels and canceling other voyages to avoid the storm.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InwmRvzSG60?rel=0&controls=0&w=560&h=315]

IMPACT ON CRUISE OPERATORS

Cruise line operators are monitoring the storm, canceling voyages that haven’t left port and rerouting other ships to avoid stops at islands that may be affected.

According to reports, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) will bring its two Miami-based ships back home ahead of schedule to avoid the storm. Both the 2,004-passenger Norwegian Sky and 4,248-passenger Norwegian Escape will return to Miami from Caribbean trips on Thursday instead of Friday and Saturday, respectively. The cruise operator also canceled sailings of the ships that were scheduled to begin on Friday and Saturday.

Yesterday, Royal Caribbean (RCL) canceled two sailings of Port Canaveral and Miami-based vessels to the Bahamas scheduled to begin on Friday and is rerouting one ship to the west and evaluating other sailings to the Caribbean, Cuba and Bermuda.

Carnival (CCL, CUK) has rerouted four vessels from an Eastern Caribbean to a Western Caribbean itinerary for the week, with a spokeswoman saying “We are watching Irma closely, but we are not canceling any sailings as of now.”

ANALYST COMMENTARY

Morgan Stanley analyst Jamie Rollo said on Tuesday that cruise demand is “solid,” but softened “a little” in August from July due to adverse weather, terror attacks and a U.S. travel warning for parts of Mexico. The analyst thinks Carnival, which reports earnings on September 26, will guide to slower yields in Q4. The firm remains “relatively cautious” on cruise stocks, but raised its price target on Carnival to $61 from $59.

OTHERS TO WATCH

Airline stocks, including American Airlines (AAL), United Continental (UAL), Southwest Airlines (LUV) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) are also on hurricane watch, and will likely be canceling flights in the affected areas.

This morning, United CFO Andrew Levy said Hurricane Harvey was the “largest operational impact we’ve had in the company’s history” and lowered its third quarter pre-tax margin and PRASM guidance. American Airlines President Robert Isom said the company is “keeping an eye” on Irma.

PRICE ACTION

In Wednesday’s trading, shares of Norwegian are down about 1%, Carnival shares trading in New York are down 0.5% and Royal Caribbean is down 1.2%.


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International Barrier Technology Sold for $22 Million

Louisiana-Pacific to acquire Int’l Barrier Tech for $22M

Louisiana-Pacific to acquire Int'l Barrier Tech for $22M. See Stockwinners.com Market Radar to read more

 

Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LPX) announced it has entered into an arrangement agreement to acquire Watkins, Minn.-based International Barrier Technology Inc. (IBTGF) for $22M.

The agreement is for 100% of the shares of Barrier, a British Columbia company publicly traded on the TSX Venture Exchange, making Barrier a wholly owned subsidiary of LP.

International Barrier Technology Inc. develops, manufactures, and markets proprietary fire resistant building materials designed to protect people and property from the destruction of fire in the United States. The company uses non-toxic Pyrotite formulation that is used to coat wood panels and has application to engineered wood products, paint, plastics, and expanded polystyrene.

The transaction is subject to the approval of the Barrier shareholders and satisfaction of customary conditions, including court approval.

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