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Rail News: Canadian Pacific

CP shattered operating ratio record in Q4


In the fourth quarter, Canadian Pacific achieved the lowest quarterly operating ratio (OR) in its history at 59.8. The railroad's first sub-60 ratio improved 6.1 points compared with fourth-quarter 2013's OR.

CP also set Q4 records for net income at $451 million and earnings per share at $2.63. In addition, revenue climbed 10 percent to an all-time high $1.76 billion; adjusted earnings jumped to $460 million, or $2.68 per share, from $338 million or $1.91 per share in fourth-quarter 2013; volume increased 4 percent to 690,000 units and total operating expenses fell 30 percent to $1 billion. (All financial figures are in Canadian dollars.)

"I am proud of the team at CP, which continues to build momentum as we exited the year with double-digit revenue growth and a sub-60 operating ratio, proving again our ability to control costs while growing the top line," said CP Chief Executive Officer E. Hunter Harrison in a press reelase. "In just two short years, CP has transformed from an industry laggard into a railway leader, and achieved its ambitious 2016 targets two full years ahead of schedule."

Potash revenue soared 39 percent to $96 million; U.S. grain revenue jumped 27 percent to $155 million; revenue generated from domestic intermodal ($208 million), metals, minerals and consumer products ($191 million), chemicals and plastics ($175 million), and crude oil ($130 million) all climbed 20 percent; and forest products revenue rose 10 percent to $54 million. The only two commodity groups that posted declines were automotive, down 22 percent to $82 million, and international intermodal, down 12 percent to $142 million.

For the full year, CP's revenue grew 8 percent to an all-time high $6.6 billion, operating ratio fell 5.2 points to a record 64.7, reported earnings per share soared 71 percent to a record $8.46 and adjusted earnings per share jumped 32 percent to $8.50 compared with 2013 figures. Total operating expenses declined 9 percent to $4.3 billion and volume decreased 4 percent to 2.68 million units.

The railroad's full-year guidance for 2015 shows projected revenue growth of 7 percent to 8 percent, a predicted adjusted earnings per share increase of more than 25 percent and a forecasted OR below 62. Capital expenditures in 2015 are estimated to total about $1.5 billion.

"CP's remarkable transformation has allowed it to exceed its operational and financial goals for 2014, positioning the company to be nimble in the near-term and successful in the long run," said Harrison. "CP fully recognizes the impact of short-term volatility in commodity prices, but given the diversity of its business and proven ability to control costs, we're confident in our ability to execute on our plan going forward. We are just getting started."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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