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Rail News: CSX Transportation

CSX posts lower Q4 profit, achieves sub-70 operating ratio for 2015

CSX Corp.'s fourth-quarter 2015 revenue and profit were down compared with the same quarter in 2014, but the Class I's results beat Wall Street's expectations.

CSX reported yesterday that fourth-quarter 2015 net earnings declined 5 percent to $466 million, or 48 cents per share, compared with $491 million, or 49 cents per share, in the prior year's quarter.

Revenue in the final quarter of 2015 fell 13 percent, as pricing gains were offset by the effect of lower fuel recovery, a 6 percent volume decline, and continued transition in the company's business mix.

Expenses for the quarter also were down 13 percent, a reflection of lower fuel prices and volume-related costs, as well as efficiency gains, company officials said in a press release. As a result, operating income fell 12 percent to $791 million, while the operating ratio improved 20 basis points to 71.6.

For the full year 2015, CSX logged $11.8 billion in revenue, as growth in the intermodal, automotive and minerals sectors helped offset decreases in coal shipments. The company's earnings for the year came in at $2 billion, or $2 per share, an increase of 4 percent over 2014's year-end results.

Improved service, resource alignment and efficiency gains helped generate nearly $3.6 billion in operating income for the year, and the company's first sub-70 operating ratio at 69.7 percent.

"CSX delivered solid results in 2015 by balancing strong service with compelling cost control and efficiency gains despite a market challenged by low commodity prices and global impacts of the strong U.S. dollar," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Ward.

Full-year earnings per share are expected to be lower in 2016 than in 2015 due to "negative global and industrial trends" projected for the new year, he said.

"CSX will continue to be rigorous about efficiency, resources and service quality in order to maximize shareholder value and achieve a mid-60s operating ratio longer term," said Ward.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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