Today, Kansas City Southern became the third Class I to report first-quarter financial results. And, like the two before it, KCS announced four new Q1 records, along with revenue and income gains.
The Class I cited first-quarter records for revenue, which rose 1 percent year over year to $553 million; volume, which ratcheted up 2 percent to 516,400 units; operating income, which increased 3 percent to $163 million; and the operating ratio, which improved 0.7 points to 70.5.
In addition, diluted earnings per share shot up 38 percent to 94 cents, adjusted earnings per share rose 10 percent to 89 cents and operating expenses were flat at $390 million compared with first-quarter 2012.
Revenue growth was driven by a 31 percent jump in automotive revenue to $49.1 million and a 17 percent increase in intermodal revenue to $79.8 million. Automotive (27,100 units) and intermodal (227,100 units) volume rose 18 percent and 9 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, energy revenue climbed 7 percent to $76.3 million and volume inched up 2 percent to 71,000 units; industrial and consumer products revenue increased 4 percent to $144.2 million and volume was flat at 85,300 units; and chemical and petroleum revenue was flat at $102.4 million and volume dipped 3 percent to 59,500 units.
Agriculture and minerals revenue declined 28 percent to $81 million and volume fell 24 percent to 46,400 units primarily because of a decrease in grain traffic resulting from severe drought conditions in the Midwest last year that impacted major sections of the U.S. corn crop.
"During the first quarter, KCS experienced consistently strong revenue growth from the shipment of crude oil (plus 369 percent), automotive and cross-border intermodal (plus 71 percent)," said President and Chief Executive Officer David Starling in a prepared statement. "The positive contribution from these growth areas was partially offset by a decline in grain revenues (minus 38 percent)."
Looking ahead, grain revenue should rebound later in 2013 if harvest levels return to normal in the fall, he said. In addition, continued growth in the energy franchise — particularly related to transporting crude oil into the Gulf region — increased automotive production in Mexico and cross-border intermodal business, and a host of other opportunities bode well for KCS, said Starling.
"With the winter and first quarter behind us, we remain optimistic that our abundance of expanded and new business opportunities places us in a good position for growth during the remainder of 2013 and beyond," he said.
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