Lower freight volume depressed Canadian Pacific’s first-quarter net earnings of C$62.5 million (US$51 million), or 39 Canadian cents per share, falling short of Wall Street analyst expectations of 48 Canadian cents per share and also down from C$90.8 million, or 59 Canadian cents per share, logged during the first quarter of 2008.
Revenue of C$1.07 billion (US$872 million) was down 6.6% for the quarter compared with one year ago. CP’s operating ratio rose to 87.0% from 82.4% in the year-ago quarter.
Chief Executive Fred Green pointed to an "unprecedented decline" in some business lines, such as potash, which is off 70%, Canadian coal, off 30%, and automotive shipments, down 43%.
CP officials said the company will cut back on its 2009 capital program; CP now plans to invest between C$720 million and C$740 million, instead of its original target of C$800 million to C$820 million.
Shares of CP were up 1.27% in morning trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.