Monday, May 07, 2012

BNSF 1Q earnings rise despite “traumatized” coal markets

Written by  Luther S. Miller, Senior Consulting Editor

Berkshire Hathaway reported at its annual meeting that first-quarter earnings included $701 million from BNSF Railway compared with $607 million in the year-earlier quarter, as rising shipments of manufactured foods made up for diminished coal haulage.

"The coal markets have been traumatized with low natural gas prices and very mild weather," said BNSF CEO Matt Rose in an interview, according to Bloomberg News. "Coal is the one storm cloud that we're dealing with." He added that coal may not return to its 2006 peak until 2013 or 2014.

"Everything to do with drilling, horizontal drilling, frack sand, pipe, oil, it's phenomenal," Rose said. "We're seeing strong double-digit type growth in all those markets. What we're going to miss in our coal business, we're going to have to pick it up in our manufacturing business."