Norfolk Southern Tuesday reported first-quarter net income of $257 million, or $0.68 per diluted share, up 45% from the $177 million, or $0.47 per diluted share, it recorded in the first quarter of 2009, and beating Wall Street consensus earnings estimates by a penny per share. Revenue rose 15% to $2.2 billion compared with the year-ago period.
NS’s operating ratio improved by 5.1 percentage points to 75.2%.
Traffic volume rose 9%. General merchandise revenue was $1.2 billion, 23% higher compared with the same period last year. Coal revenue rose 4% to $629 million compared to a year ago. Intermodal revenue of $410 million was up 12% compared with the first quarter of last year.
The company noted first-quarter 2010 results were impacted by a $27 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, deferred tax charge resulting from the enactment of recent healthcare legislation, which, effective in 2013, eliminates the tax deduction available for prescription drug expenses reimbursed under the Medicare Part D retiree drug subsidy program.
“Norfolk Southern delivered strong financial performance during the first quarter, reflecting positive trends in the economy,” said CEO Wick Moorman. “Demand for rail transportation continues to grow in most sectors of our business. We remain confident that many of the cost efficiencies we have achieved will remain in place as we continue to invest in key projects and new business opportunities.”
Shares of Norfolk Southern closed down 2.36% Tuesday prior to the company's earnings announcement. In after-hours trading Tuesday, shares were up 1.39%.