CSX posts record first quarter earnings
April 18, 2012
Class I railroad carrier CSX last night reported record first quarter earnings of $449 million and $0.43 per share.
The earnings per share performance exceeded Wall Street expectations of $0.38 per share and was up 23 percent annually.
Quarterly operating income was up 11 percent at $856 million and revenue was up 6 percent annually at $2.96 billion. The quarterly operating ratio for CSX of 71.1 percent was 140 basis points better than the first quarter of 2012.
CSX said first quarter volume was up 1 percent annually, with increased shipments in merchandise and intermodal more than offsetting declines in its coal business.
“Despite significant weakness in utility coal, we continue to see broad-based revenue growth across nearly all of our markets,” said Michael Ward, CSX President and CEO, on an earnings call. “Our team supported the revenue gains with excellent results in safety, service, and productivity.”
And while the first quarter was record-breaking, CSX is bullish in near-term future growth prospects.
Clarence Gooden, CSX executive vice president, sales and marketing, said on the call that most key indicators continue to project annual growth in 2012, which supports CSX’ expectation that the second quarter outlook is favorable for 58 percent of its volume—which includes intermodal, automotive, metals, forest products, and phosphate and fertilizer—and stable for 32 percent of its volume—which includes chemicals, emerging markets, agricultural products, food and consumer, and export and industrial coal.
Utility coal, which represents 10 percent of CSX’ volume, is the only market with an unfavorable outlook. But with a growing economy, continued truck conversion from the highway, and on-boarding of CSX’ new Maersk business, Gooden said intermodal is expected to continue to lead growth for CSX.
Revenue per unit for the first quarter increased by 4.9 percent at $1,851.
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