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CSX's second-quarter volume is tracking slightly below expected levels, but the company still expects flat to slightly higher earnings per share growth (EPS) in the second quarter, Chief Financial Officer Fredrik Eliasson said late last week at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Transportation Conference in Boston.Second-quarter 2015 volume is tracking below expected levels due to very strong comparisons to last year, Eliasson said, according to a press release. Still, the company expects improving service levels and asset utilization will result in flat to slightly up EPS growth for the quarter compared with a year ago, he said.Eliasson also said that for the full year, CSX expects EPS growth in the mid- to high-single-digit range. The company also expects to make progress toward reaching an operating ratio in the mid-60s. Earnings growth will be driven by accelerating pricing performance and productivity gains, Eliasson said.Over the past decade, CSX delivered a compound annual growth rate in EPS of 20 percent, despite the loss of nearly $900 million in coal revenue."We have delivered strong shareholder value by remaining focused on our three key value levers: pricing above inflation, driving ever more efficient operations, and growing our merchandise and intermodal businesses faster than the economy," Eliasson said. He added: "CSX is emerging from the energy transition a stronger company with a more diversified business mix, which has been evident over the last three quarters in which we have delivered double-digit earnings growth and significant margin expansion."
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