CSX reports strong 4Q and 2010 full-year earnings
January 25, 2011
Following through on excellent momentum through the first three quarters of 2010, it was hardly surprising that CSX announced record fourth quarter and full-year 2010 earnings this week.
Fourth quarter earnings for the carrier of $430 million and $1.14 per share (topping Wall Street estimates of $1.10 per share) were up 48 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2009, which hit $303 million and $0.77 per share, for a record fourth quarter. Full year earnings at $1.56 billion—or $4.06 per share—were up 26 percent compared to 2009, with company officials noting this output was driven by strengthening volume, revenue, productivity, and operating leverage, leading to CSX’ record annual operating ratio of 71.1 percent. Full year operating income was up 35 percent at $3.1 billion, and quarterly operating income was up 46 percent at $846 million.
Quarterly revenue at $2.8 billion was up 21 percent from 2009, driven by a 13 percent spike in volume, with intermodal up 11 percent, merchandise up 4 percent, and coal up 5 percent. And revenue per unit at $1,655 was up 6.4 percent year-over-year, with same-store sales pricing up 6.2 percent annually. CSX cited increased fuel recovery as a factor in increased revenue per unit growth.
“These [quarterly] results reflect our continued relentless focus on delivering value to customers and our shareholders,” said CSX President and CEO Michael J. Ward on a conference call earlier today. “With a positive economic backdrop, our sales and marketing team were able to leverage our strong service product to increase volume and revenue in each of the three major markets we serve.”
And despite the harsh weather conditions through much of the fourth quarter, Ward said the CSX operations team kept the company’s network fluid and delivered strong results in safety, productivity, and service for CSX customers.
He added that 2010 was a year of momentum, with volume, revenue, productivity, and operating leverage driving strong results, with expectations that it will continue in 2011, with more record results and a high 60s operating ratio, with a 65 percent operating ratio goal within the next 5 years.
CSX Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing Clarence Gooden said on the call that the Federal Reserve’s noted that industrial production finished 2010 by rising in December by more than it had since July, coupled with the manufacturing sector expanding for the 17th month, according to Institute of Supply Management data.
“These improving trends combined with the value of our rail transportation product led to strong volume gains during the fourth quarter,” said Gooden. “As we continue to see growing demand for rail service, we remain focused on tapping into the value of our rail services, and we remain committed to delivering an even safer, more reliable service product to our customers.”
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