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Rail News: Financials

Higher fuel prices, stronger Canadian dollar dampen CPR's quarterly, annual earnings

A rise in bulk commodity and grain moves helped Canadian Pacific Railway earn fourth-quarter net income of $175 million — a 39 percent increase compared with the same 2002 period. On Jan. 27, the Class I also reported total quarterly revenue of $964 million compared with fourth-quarter 2002's $950 million.

But because of an $18 million loss from assets transferred to IBM Canada Ltd. under a seven-year, $200 million computer-system outsourcing agreement, CPR's quarterly operating income fell to $226 million compared with $238 million during the same 2002 period.

Also, the Canadian dollar appreciated 19 percent during the quarter, reducing CPR's revenue about $80 million and operating expenses, about $56 million. The railroad's quarterly operating ratio worsened 1.6 points to 76.6 compared with fourth-quarter 2002.

"CPR set a record for train lengths and moved significantly more tonnage per train, generating higher productivity," said CPR President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Ritchie in a prepared statement. "[But] while we grew our business by $94 million, or 10 percent, in the fourth quarter, most of this growth was reduced by the significant year-over-year appreciation in the Canadian dollar."

During all of 2003, CPR's net income dropped $97 million to $399 million, operating income fell $116 million to $741 million, total revenue decreased $5 million to $3.66 billion and operating ratio worsened 3.2 points to 79.8 compared with 2002.

An 11 percent year-over-year rise in the Canadian dollar vs. the U.S. dollar reduced annual revenue about $192 million and operating expenses, about $136 million.

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More News from 1/27/2004