Because of a typographical error in a story in yesterday's Business & Finance section about Auto-Train Corp., the deadline for filing annual statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission was incorrect. The SEC requires such statements within 90 days of the end of a firm's fiscal year.
The threat of summer gasoline shortages is bringing travelers and investors to Auto-Train.
For the second day in a row, Auto-Train Corp.'s common stock was the biggest gainer on the American Stock Exchange, yesterday jumping from $3 a share to $4 5/8.
In all, 135,500 shares were traded, making Auto-Train the Amex's second most active stock, after Resorts International class A shares.
At Auto-Train's headquarters on K Street, reservations "are up substantially from last year," said Executive Vice President Richard Goldstein. He said the company set a one-day record of 1,200 reservations last Friday "and things are continuing very, very strong."
"The energy situation is certainly a contributing factor," in the upsurge of investor interest and reservations, added Goldstein. He attributed part of the stock swing to announced expansion in the company's rail car repair business and to a recent report on the company by Value Line, a respected Wall Street investment report.
Citing the possibility that Auto-Train will return to profitability after three years of losses, Value Line's report commented: "If so, speculators will probably be rewarded by a sharp recovery of teh stock price."
Ironically, Value Line gave Auto-Train a five rating - the lowest possible - on "timeliness," the likelihood the stock price will improve in the next 12 months.
Since the report came out, Auto-Train stock has jumped from 1 7/8 to 4 5/8, with the shares increasing in value by 33 percent on Wednesday and another 54 percent yesterday.
Despite the dramatic jump in reservations and stock prices, Auto-Train faces serious operating and financing problems.
The company still has not made public its financial report on 1978 operations and is in violation of Securities and Exchange Commission rules which require annual reports to be filed within 9 days of the end of a firm's fiscal year.
An SEC official said Auto-Train's request for a 30-day extension was turned down because it was not filed on time, but admitted that the agency is not moving to enforce its deadline. The SEC still has - apparently on a back burner - an investigation underway of other aspects of Auto-Train's operations.
Goldstein said he expects the 1978 annual report to be issued "before the end of this month." By the time the company also should report its profit or loss for the first three months of 1979, which is required by the SEC within 45 days after the end of a quarter.
In a preliminary report not verified by outside auditors, Auto-Train announced it lost $3.3 million in 1978 and will have to write off another $1.4 million to pay for the cost of derailments and accidents in prior years.
Auto-Train President Eugene Kerik Garfield has said the company will show additional losses when its report on the first quarter of 1979 is issued.
To get cash the ccompany recently asked the federal government for a $3 million government-guaranteed loan.
Yesterday the company announced it has leased land and facilities near its Sanford, Fla., terminal from the Seaboard Coast Line railroad to expand its car repair facilities.
Auto-Train said it has also purchased from Seaboard equipment for repairing and rebuilding rail car wheels and will move that gear to the Sanford site.
The freight car repair business is part of a new Railway Services & Supply Division set up recently by Auto-Train in an attempt to produce the profits that have eluded its railroad operations in the last three years.