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Greenbrier shares plunge on weak 4Q

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. (AP) -- Shares of Greenbrier Cos. shares plunged more than 14 percent Thursday after the railcar company reported a drop of more than 40 percent in quarterly profit and issued a weak forecast for next year.

Greenbrier said delays in deliveries, a higher tax rate and employee-related costs hurt earnings in its fiscal fourth quarter.

The Lake Oswego, Ore.-based company said that it expected to complete delivery of 560 new railcar deliveries for two customers, worth nearly $50 million, by the end of the year but ran into delays. The company's tax rate jumped to 51 percent rather than the 34 percent rate it expected. And it incurred after-tax severance costs of nearly $1 million during the quarter.

Greenbrier earned $7.4 million, or 26 cents per share, for the period that ended Aug.31. That's down from $12.6 million, or 42 cents per share, last year. Revenue increased slightly to $443.5 million from $442.7 million.

Analysts expected 56 cents per share on revenue of $500.5 million, according to FactSet.

CEO William Furman said business prospects for 2013 are not clear due to global economic uncertainty. He expects earnings and revenue will be similar to 2012.

The company earned $58.7 million, or $1.91 per share, for its 2012 fiscal year That compares with $6.5 million, or 24 cents per share, last year. Revenue increased to $1.81 billion from $1.24 billion.

Greenbrier expects to deliver 11,500 to 13,000 railcars in 2013, versus 15,000 this year. The company plans to focus on higher-margin railcars and expand offerings for oil, gas and other high-growth industries.

Shares fell $2.52, or 14.5 percent, to $14.89 in afternoon trading. Its stock has lost more than 25 percent of its value since the beginning of the year.