Genesee & Wyoming (GWI) once relied on the salt of the earth -- hauling salt on a 14-mile railroad for one customer. Now, however, the company owns stakes in more than 65 short-line and regional freight railroads that operate over a total of about 9,000 miles of track, including about 7,600 miles of track owned and leased by the company and another 1,400 miles belonging to other railroads and service to 17 ports in North America and Europe. Freight transported by GWI railroads includes coal, forest products, and pulp and paper. Outside North America, the company has operations in Australia and the Netherlands. In late 2012 it acquired rival RailAmerica for almost $1.4 billion.
Besides its railroad operations, GWI provides freight car switching and related services for industrial companies that own railroad facilities.
GWI's average freight revenues per carload increased nearly 8% in 2010 when compared to the previous year. Although revenues from the transportation of coal and coke, which accounts for nearly 20% of GWI's freight revenues, was relatively flat, shipments of farm and food products improved by about 50%. The company is also looking to expand its intermodal operations. (Intermodal involves the shipment of freight in a container using multiple modes of transportation.) Intermodal revenues jumped from $411,000 in 2009 to $ 7.8 million in 2010.
The company, which has expanded over the years via acquisitions (about 35 between 1985 and 2010), hopes to continue to grow by buying railroads, not only in North America and Australia but also in European markets. Its $1.4 billion milestone deal to purchase RailAmerica created the largest short-line railroad operator in the US, with about 110 railroads and 15,100 miles of track. The transaction is expected to more than triple GWI's debt, but it hopes the newly integrated entity's increased cash flow will allow it to quickly recover.
In addition to that significant deal, GWI expects freight business in Australia to pick up as the grain harvest in that country increased over the previous year's totals. To that end, GWI purchased Australia's FreightLink rail network for about $332 million Australian dollars ($319 million). FreightLink, which serves general freight and mining customers in South Australia, will operate as part of Genesee & Wyoming Australia (GWA). GWA has managed FreightLink's rail services and operations and provided it with locomotives and crews since its inception.
Chairman Mortimer Fuller, great-grandson of founder Edward L. Fuller, owns a 28% stake in the company. – less
3 salaries reported
$66,501 per year