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1/23/2013


Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway
Norfolk Southern financial results impacted by declining coal shipments; plans $2 billion in capital improvements in 2013



Norfolk Southern Corp.'s fourth-quarter 2012 net income slipped to $413 million, or $1.30 per diluted share, from $480 million, or $1.42 per diluted share, a year ago, the Class I reported yesterday.

For the full year 2012, net income declined to $1.7 billion, or $5.37 per diluted share, compared with $1.9 billion, or $5.45 per diluted share, earned in 2011.

The Class I's results reflected the impact of a softening coal market.

"While the fourth quarter reflected declines in coal shipments, we also saw steady intermodal volume gains coupled with improved volumes in our chemicals, auto and housing sectors," said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Wick Moorman in a prepared statement.

Fourth-quarter railway operating revenue declined 4 percent to $2.7 billion compared with the same period in 2011. For all of 2012, railway operating revenue decreased 1 percent to $11 billion.

Fourth-quarter general merchandise revenue increased 4 percent to $1.4 billion compared with the same period a year earlier; for the full year, general merchandise revenue rose 6 percent to $5.9 billion compared with 2011. Traffic volume increased 1 percent for the quarter and 2 percent for the year.

Meanwhile, coal revenue plummeted 23 percent to $657 million for the fourth quarter and 17 percent to $2.9 billion for the full year compared with 2011. Coal traffic dropped 13 percent for the quarter and the full year in 2012.

Intermodal revenue climbed 5 percent to $584 million for the quarter and 5 percent to $2.2 billion for the full year in 2012 compared with the previous year. Intermodal traffic volume rose 4 percent in the quarter and 5 percent for all of 2012.

Railway operating expenses were 1 percent lower for both the quarter and the year. Income from railway operations fell 11 percent to $714 million for fourth-quarter 2012 and declined 3 percent to $3.1 billion for the full year compared with 2011.

NS remains focused on controlling costs, improving productivity and providing high levels of service, said Moorman.

"In 2013, we plan to invest $2 billion in capital improvements to further our strong safety performance, improve operational efficiency and service, and support future growth," he said.

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