Fourth-quarter revenue rose 7% to C$2.53 billion from C$2.38 billion in the year-ago quarter, below expectations of C$2.55 billion but still a record, the company said. CN's operating ratio improved by 1.1 points to 63.6%, even as operating costs rose 5% during the quarter.
CN President and CEO Claude Mongeau said in a statement that the railroad delivered "impressive" fourth-quarter results. "Thanks to our supply chain collaboration focus and solid execution, CN's growth last year continued to outpace that of the overall economy, generating the highest volumes and earnings in company history," Mongeau said.
CN also released full-year results, reporting earnings of C$2.68 billion (about US$270 billion), or $6.12 per share, compared with $2.46 billion, or C$5.41 per share, in 2011. Full-year 2012 revenue was C$9.92 billion, up from C$9.03 billion in 2011.
"In 2012, we experienced strong growth in commodities related to oil and gas, particularly crude oil, and saw continued market share gains in overseas and domestic intermodal," Mongeau said. "CN also benefited from strong coal and petroleum coke exports, increased wheat and soybean exports, as well as higher lumber and panels shipments to the United States."
Shortly after midday Tuesday, shares of CN were down 1.25% to US$94.17 on the New York Stock Exchange.