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Rail News Home Canadian National Railway - CN


Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN

CN registers record-breaking financial results in 3Q


For a number of reasons, the third quarter was a record-setting one for CN. Strong energy markets — particularly crude oil and frac sand — a record Canadian grain crop, and new intermodal and automotive business helped the Class I set several financial high-water marks.

Revenue jumped 16 percent to a record $3.1 billion, while net income shot up 21 percent to $853 million, operating climbed 19 percent to $1.3 billion and diluted earnings per share soared 24 percent to $1.04 compared with third-quarter 2013 results (all figures are in Canadian dollars).

In addition, volume rose 11 percent to a record 1.47 million units and the operating ratio improved 1 point to 58.8, besting the railroad's all-time-low 58.9 ratio achieved in third-quarter 2006, after adjusting for one-time fuel hedging gains recorded at the time.

"Clearly, we're growing much faster than the economy, which is our game plan," said CN President and Chief Executive Officer Claude Mongeau during an earnings conference held yesterday. "We delivered outstanding third-quarter financial results while improving customer service levels and maintaining industry-leading operating efficiencies."

Revenue increased in six of seven commodity groups, with coal the sole laggard, down 3 percent to $185 million. Grain and fertilizers revenue jumped 29 percent to $469 million, petroleum and chemicals revenue soared 21 percent to $594 million, metals and minerals revenue climbed 17 percent to $388 million, automotive revenue also climbed 17 percent to $160 million, intermodal revenue rose 14 percent to $731 million and forest products revenue increased 8 percent to $393 million. Grain revenue in part was propelled by a 50 percent jump in U.S. grain volume.

However, quarterly operating expenses rose 14 percent to $1.8 billion as purchases services and material costs ballooned 19 percent to $378 million, fuel costs climbed 14 percent to $446 million, labor and fringe benefits costs rose 11 percent to $580 million, and equipment rents increased 22 percent to $83 million.

Looking ahead, CN aims to achieve double-digit earnings growth for the year, with mid- to high-single-digit carload growth and pricing above inflation.

"We have a lot of momentum in the marketplace, and we are gearing up to deliver another strong year with strong performance in the fourth quarter," said Mongeau.