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CSX Corp. today reported third-quarter net income increased 1 percent to $459 million, or 51 cents per share, compared with $455 million, or 48 cents per share, during the same period a year ago.Excluding a $1 million restructuring charge in this year's Q3 results, adjusted earnings per share remained at 51 cents.Revenue in the quarter climbed 1 percent to $2.74 billion compared with the previous year's Q3 revenue, supported by core pricing gains and offset by the impact of an unfavorable mix, CSX officials said in a press release.Operating income rose 4 percent to $876 million from $841 million in 2016's third quarter, while operating ratio fell to 68.1 percent from 69 percent compared with last year's third quarter."The company's results for the third quarter reflect the resiliency of precision scheduled railroading, even during times of transition," said President and Chief Executive Officer E. Hunter Harrison. "With that transition largely behind us, we are now intensely focused on driving superior service for our customers and lasting value for our shareholders."Year over year, expenses declined $2 million, with efficiency gains of $95 million more than offsetting inflation and fuel costs that were 19 percent higher on a per gallon basis.CSX officials also announced that the company completed a $1.5 billion share repurchase program that was announced in April and upsized in July, "reflecting management's confidence in the company's future."Looking ahead, the company's outlook for the fourth-quarter volumes is "neutral." By market, CSX has a Q4 favorable outlook for export coal and intermodal; a neutral outlook for agriculture and food, and metals and equipment; and an unfavorable outlook for automotive, chemicals, domestic coal, fertilizers, forest products and minerals.The Class I's service improvement efforts will benefit most markets over time, CSX officials said. Adjusted for restructuring charges, CSX expects to deliver a full-year operating ratio in the high mid-60s, as well as earnings per share growth of 20 percent to 25 percent off the 2016-reported base of $1.81.To learn more about CSX's transition to precision scheduled railroading — and the service snafus it's been dealing with as a result — read Progressive Railroading's October cover story.
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