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Greenbrier shares soar on news of Icahn stake

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Greenbrier Cos. jumped Tuesday after the railcar company disclosed that billionaire investor Carl Icahn had bought a stake in it.

THE SPARK: The company, based in Lake Oswego, Ore., said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Icahn bought 2.7 million of its shares for a 9.99 percent stake.

THE BIG PICTURE: Icahn is known for buying into struggling companies and shaking them up, with mixed results. He also holds a controlling stake in American Railcar Industries Inc., which he tried to combine with Greenbrier in 2008. Talks surrounding that potential deal ended because of "unresolved issues."

In the filing Icahn said he believes that Greenbrier's shares are undervalued, and he plans to hold talks with the company, possibly related to "strategic operations."

Earlier this month Greenbrier said its fiscal fourth-quarter net income dropped more than 40 percent, and it issued weak guidance for the current year. It blamed delays in deliveries, a higher tax rate and employee-related costs.

CEO William Furman also said that the company's business prospects for 2013 are not clear because of global economic uncertainty. He predicted earnings and revenue similar to 2012.

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

THE SHARES: Up $2.38, or 17.1 percent, to $16.33 in heavy midday trading, after peaking at $16.60 earlier in the day. Over the past 52 weeks, the company's shares have traded between $13.10 and $26.66.

Since the beginning of this year, Greenbrier shares have lost about 32 percent of their value.