Wednesday, April 17, 2013

CSX touts record 1Q earnings

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CSX Corp. late Tuesday said it notched earnings of $459 million, or 45 cents per share, in the first quarter, up from $449 million, or 43 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2012, on revenue of about $2.96 billion, almost identical to that of a year ago.

Earnings per share topped Wall Street analyst estimates of 40 cents. Shares of CSX were down slightly just after noon Wednesday in New York Stock Exchange trading, though up 18.55% year-to-date.

The company also noted a record operating income of $875 million in the quarter, and achieved an operating ratio of 70.4%, all while adhering to what it called "industry-leading safety levels." CSX said that it now expects to achieve an operating ratio in the high 60s by 2015, while remaining focused on attaining a mid-60s operating ratio longer-term.

"CSX continues to create value by supporting its customers with high levels of service in an economy that is still gradually recovering," said Chairman, President, and CEO Michael J. Ward. "At the same time, we are prepared for the economy to accelerate and have great confidence in the long-term outlook for the business."

Gains in merchandise, intermodal, and other revenue offset continued declines in the railroad's coal traffic, an industry-wide trend.

CSX also noted its Board of Directors has approved a 7% increase in the quarterly dividend on the company's common stock, and has also instituted a new $1.0 billion share buyback program.

"These actions reflect the strength of CSX's core earning power and its confidence in the future," said Ward. "They build upon the $2.3 billion of investment CSX is making this year to meet the nation's future transportation needs and drive long-term shareholder value."

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