Friday, May 09, 2014

CSX CFO: Growth modest in 2014, robust in 2015

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Despite the difficult winter conditions of the first quarter, CSX is positioned to capitalize on underlying economic strength and market opportunities in the balance of 2014 to grow earnings, Fredrik Eliasson, CSX Corp. executive vice president and chief financial officer, said Thursday, May 8, 2014, addressing investors and analysts at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Transportation Conference in Boston.

"With winter behind us, volume growth has picked up strongly, and we have visibility to several million new tons of domestic coal as inventories are normalizing and natural gas prices have risen," Eliasson told the gathering. "With the broader economy remaining healthy and with this improved environment for our domestic coal business, we expect to produce modest earnings growth in 2014."

Through the first five weeks of the second quarter, CSX volume increased 9%, with broad-based growth across nearly all markets. Expectations for 2014 will represent the ninth time in the last 10 years that CSX has produced earnings growth for investors, despite a 55% loss in domestic coal volume over the last several years, the railroad reported.

"We have emerged from the reshaping of the energy markets as a stronger, more flexible and more customer-driven company," Eliasson said. "CSX is well positioned to deliver compelling results for our shareholders as we support manufacturing renewal, energy independence and global trade."

CSX expects to again produce double-digit earnings growth and margin expansion beginning in 2015, and expects to sustain an operating ratio in the mid-60s longer-term. This builds on a foundation of success over the last 10 years during which CSX increased EPS nearly 2,000% with total shareholder return of nearly 500%.

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