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Canadian Pacific posts record Q4, full-year 2017 results

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. yesterday announced record fourth-quarter and full-year results for 2017.

Fourth-quarter diluted earnings per share (EPS) soared 159 percent to CA$6.77 from $2.61 a year ago. The 2017 results includes an income tax recovery of $527 million, primarily as a result of U.S. tax reform net of Canadian provincial tax rate increases. Adjusted diluted EPS rose 6 percent to a new quarterly record of $3.22 from $3.04.

All results are reported in Canadian dollars.

Fourth-quarter revenue increased 5 percent to $1.7 billion in 2017 from $1.64 billion in 2016. The Class I's operating ratio for the quarter improved by 10 basis points to 56.1 percent.

"2017 was a positive year where we continued to build the foundation for sustainable long-term growth by enhancing our service offering, strengthening our team of professional railroaders, and furthering strategic partnerships with customers," said President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel in a press release.

Creel attributed the railroad's full-year earnings increase to "a disciplined growth strategy combined with the fundamentals of precision railroading." CP reported full-year diluted EPS of $16.44, up 55 percent from $10.63 in 2016 and full-year adjusted diluted EPS of $11.39, 11 percent from $10.29 in the previous year.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $6.55 billion in 2017 compared with $6.23 billion in 2016. The railroad's operating ratio for 2017 improved to 58.2 percent from 58.6 percent a year ago.

"Over the course of 2017 we built momentum thanks to our strategic approach to growth combined with our continued focus on operational excellence," Creel said. "That momentum has us well positioned to start 2018 and we look forward to delivering another year of record results in a safe and disciplined manner."

For 2018, CP's expectations for adjusted diluted EPS growth are based on adjusted diluted EPS of $11.39 in 2017. Company officials assume the Canadian-to-U.S. dollar exchange rate will be in the range of 1.25 to 1.30 and expect an effective tax rate of 24.5 to 25 percent.

Also in 2018, the Class I plans to spend $1.35 billion to $1.5 billion on capital programs compared with $1.34 billion in 2017.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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