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Rail News: CSX Transportation

CSX expects high-60s operating ratio, higher-than-expected income and earnings by 2010


CSX Corp. is aiming to go where only one other Class I has gone: an operating ratio in the 60s. Yesterday, CSX identified that goal as one of several long-term objectives the railroad intends to achieve by 2010.

Based on the railroad's strong performance and diverse traffic base, and a promising outlook for rail and intermodal transportation, the Class I expects to boost operating income between 15 percent and 20 percent (on a compound annual growth basis) compared with 2008's base and reach an operating ratio in the high 60s — a figure only achieved by Canadian National Railway Co. in recent years. CSX previously anticipated income growth between 13 percent and 15 percent over 2007's base and an operating ratio in the low 70s.

In addition, CSX expects compound annual earnings per share growth of 20 percent to 25 percent over 2008's base vs. prior guidance of 18 percent to 21 percent over the 2007's base.

"CSX remains a powerful earnings story," said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Ward in a prepared statement. "Our team continues to deliver outstanding service for our customers and superior value for our shareholders."

For full-year 2008, CSX is projecting earnings of $3.65 to $3.75 per share compared with a previous target of between $3.40 and $3.60 per share. The Class I also is increasing 2008 capital spending to about $1.75 billion, primarily to purchase additional coal cars and cover infrastructure repair costs associated with recent severe storms.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/12/2008