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CSX Corp. yesterday announced an 11 percent increase in its quarterly dividend, a new $1 billion share repurchase program and strong financial guidance as it applies the precision railroading model to its operations."Although we are just in the beginning phase of making changes to our network, we are off to a great start," said President and Chief Executive Officer E. Hunter Harrison in a press release. "These changes are critical to driving strong, sustainable service for our customers and superior value for our shareholders."CSX expects to achieve record gains in efficiency and a step-function improvement in its key financial measures this year given continued economic growth and stable coal markets. Adjusting for restructuring charges in 2017, actions to improve efficiency are expected to drive a full-year operating ratio in the mid-60s and earnings-per-share growth of 25 percent off the 2016 reported base of $1.81.Meanwhile, management expects the $1 billion share repurchase program to be completed by the end of first-quarter 2018. The new program follows the completion of CSX's previous repurchase plan, during which the company bought back $2 billion worth of shares since April 2015.In line with the company's approach in deploying capital, CSX now expects to invest $2.1 billion this year, including $270 million for positive train control implementation.The quarterly dividend, which increased from 18 cents to 20 cents, is payable on June 15 to shareholders of record as of May 31.
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