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Rail News: CSX Transportation

CSX beat expectations for Q2


CSX posted a boost in profit, revenue and a record quarterly operating ratio for second-quarter 2018 — indications that the Class I's scheduled railroading operations model has begun to pay off, company officials say.

CSX reported yesterday second-quarter net earnings of $877 million, or $1.01 per share, compared with $510 million, or 55 cents per share for the same period a year ago.

The railroad's operating ratio set a quarterly record of 58.6 percent, down from 67.4 percent in the prior year, or 63.5 percent on an adjusted basis, excluding restructuring charges.

"I could not be more proud of our hardworking CSX employees for achieving these record-setting results," said President and Chief Executive Officer James Foote in a press release. "I expect continued improvement in our safety, service and financial performance."

Q2 revenue rose 6 percent to $3.1 billion compared with the same quarter in 2017. Expenses declined 8 percent year over year, or 2 percent when excluding prior year restructuring charges.

Operating income for the quarter jumped 34 percent to $1.28 billion, compared with $957 million a year ago.

"While we remain in the early stages of the transformation I am more confident this exceptional team can deliver on our longer term outlook," said Foote.

CSX's Q2 2018 results beat Wall Street expectations, according to media and analyst reports.

The Q2 2018 earnings per share of $1.01 exceeded the consensus of 87 percent per share and Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.'s expectation of 86 cents per share, according to Benjamin Hartford, senior research analyst at Baird.

CSX's improved operating ratio was helped by a noted service improvement, with train velocity up 7 percent, dwell time down 11 percent and train length up 13 percent year over year, Hartford reported yesterday in an analyst's note.

Hartford also noted that the 2018 revenue growth guidance for CSX was being raised to mid-single-digit growth from "up slightly," given continued healthy coal export trends in the second half of 2018, higher fuel prices and a healthy economy.

"To that end, CSX noted customers remain very optimistic in their outlooks despite the recent noise surrounding U.S. tariffs," Hartford said.

By commodity, CSX logged year-over-year second-quarter revenue increases in chemicals (up 7 percent), automotive (7 percent), ag and food products (2 percent), minerals (7 percent), forest products (11 percent) and metals and equipment (11 percent).

Fertilizer revenue declined 5 percent on an 18 percent drop in volume compared with the same quarter in 2017.

Year over year, coal revenue and volume each rose 7 percent, while intermodal revenue rose 9 percent on a 2 percent increase in volume.