Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NS annual report sports upbeat tone

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Norfolk Southern said Wednesday it was moving ahead in 2013 after coming off its second-best year ever for revenue, operating income, net income, and earnings per share.

"The future looks good," CEO Wick Moorman says in the corporation's 2012 annual report, posted Wednesday on the company's website.

"Despite significant challenges in our coal business, we delivered solid results for our shareholders," Moorman says. "From an operations perspective, the railroad ran extremely well, setting all-time highs for most of our service and velocity metrics.

"We also continued our strong record of reinvesting in the company, with more than $2.2 billion in capital spending, including completion of some key projects to drive future growth, the CEO says.

Repeating his take on the industry's coal haulage slump, something Moorman cited last June, Moorman says, " While the coal business will continue to be a wild card for the immediate future, it traditionally has been a mainstay for Norfolk Southern, and we continue to believe in it long-term."

But, he adds, "We see exciting opportunities in emerging energy markets, such as transporting crude oil by rail, and sand, pipe, and other materials for shale gas production. We are positioned equally well for growth in many of our other businesses, supported by our continuing focus on operating efficiency and productivity."