Friday, April 20, 2012

CP trumpets 1Q earnings ahead of proxy battle

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Canadian Pacific Railway early Friday announced stellar first-quarter net income of C$142 million, up C$108 million, or 318%, from the first quarter of 2011. Diluted earnings per share did nearly as well, at 82 Canadian cents per share for the first quarter, up 62 Canadian cents or 310% from a year ago.

Total revenue of C$1.4 billion was up C$213 million from roughly C$1.19 billion a year ago. CP's operating ratio was 80.1%, which it said was an "improvement of 1,050 basis points" compared with the first quarter of 2011. CP noted the improvements came despite the average fuel price increasing 12% to US$3.50 per U.S. gallon in the comparative periods.

CP attributed the results to "continued successful execution of [its] multi-year plan," even as CP's leadership is being challenged by hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management for its relative fiscal performance compared with other Class I railroads.

CP President & Chief Executive Officer Fred Green said, "Our record operating metrics are driving enhanced financial results, as evidenced by a strong first quarter performance. By aggressively executing on the Multi-Year Plan, CP delivered an increase in revenues of C$213 million and an improvement in operating ratio of 1,050 basis points during the quarter."

"We have improved operating momentum, we are delivering excellent service and we have a stronger, more resilient rail network," Green said. "This quarter, we generated an 18% year-over-year increase in freight revenues. Looking ahead, we are confident we can continue to deliver improvements in our operating metrics and financial performance and further growth in shareholder value."

Among other data, CP noted active cars on line improved 28%, while fuel efficiency in terms of gallons consumed improved 6%.