Monday, April 22, 2013

CN 1Q earnings slip but beat Street

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CN Monday reported first-quarter net income of C$555 million, or C$1.30 per diluted share, down from net income of C$775 million, or C$1.75 per diluted share, in the first-quarter of 2012.

Adjusted diluted earnings per share for the quarter were C$1.22, up 3% over adjusted diluted EPS of C$1.18 for the same period of 2012 (excluding gains on rail line sales in both years). Those results beat by a penny Wall Street consensus estimates, lowered during the quarter, of C$1.21 per diluted share.

Revenue rose 5% to C2.47 billion. CN'ss operating ratio was 68.4%, down 2.2 points from the comparable quarter in 2012.

CN noted the first-quarter 2013 results included an after-tax gain of C$36 million, or 8 Canadian cents per diluted share, and the first quarter of 2012 included an after-tax gain of C$252 million, or 57 Canadian cents per diluted share, from the sale of rail line segments in the Toronto area to Metrolinx.

President and CEO Claude Mongeau said: "CN faced a number of operational challenges in the first quarter, including extreme cold and heavy snow in Western Canada, which hampered operations, congested the network and constrained volume growth. We've turned the corner since then, improving train velocity and reducing freight car dwell times in yards across the network to restore the service level expected by our customers.

"CN will emerge stronger from this first-quarter experience," Mongeau said. "To improve network resilience, particularly given our expectation of continued strong volume growth, CN is undertaking several capacity enhancement projects in its Edmonton-Winnipeg corridor. These and other productivity initiatives will increase CN's planned 2013 capital spending to C$2 billion, an increase of C$100 million over our original 2013 plan."

CN said it is maintaining the 2013 financial outlook it issued last January, except for its revised plan to invest approximately C$2 billion in capital programs in 2013, compared with the previous plan to invest C$1.9 billion. Approximately C$1.1 billion of the total expenditure will be targeted on track infrastructure, CN said.

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