Railroad IPO chugs along

RailAmerica's $357 million IPO set for Tuesday on NYSE

By Kim Peterson Oct 12, 2009 11:31AM

The train is still the least expensive way to move heavy freight across long distances, according to The Wall Street Journal. And that is why one railroad company hopes its upcoming initial public offering will succeed.


RailAmerica's $357 million IPO is scheduled for Tuesday, when it will debut on the New York Stock Exchange as symbol RA.


These are hard times for any company to go public, and RailAmerica isn't any different. Its revenue dropped 19% in the first half of this year, the Journal reports. But cost-cutting and other moves helped boost income by 10%.


RailAmerica is hoping that investors are optimistic about the economy and the future of the transportation industry. The company operates about 40 individual railroads in 27 states, and hauls everything from food and lumber to metals and chemicals.


Railamerica has big plans for expanding, even in this economy. It wants to go after companies on its lines that use other forms of transport and convert them to rail.


It also hopes to expand non-fright services, like repairing or storing railcars. And finally, it wants to buy more railroads in the highly fragmented industry (there are about 550 regional railroads in North America).


The company expects to sell 21 million shares in the $16 to $18 range; the IPO is scheduled to price Monday.

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