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Rail News: CSX Transportation

CSX financial results reflect soft coal market


CSX Corp. reported a 3.1 percent decline in fourth-quarter 2012 net income, as the slumping demand for coal continued to hit the railroad's bottom line, the Class I reported yesterday.

CSX's fourth-quarter net income fell to $443 million, or 43 cents per share, compared with $457 million, or 43 cents per share, for the same period a year ago. For the full year, net earnings increased to $1.9 billion, or $1.79 per share, compared with $1.8 billion, or $1.67 per share, in 2011.

For both the fourth quarter and the full year, the earnings-per-share performances reflected shares repurchased in 2012, CSX officials said in a prepared statement.

Total revenue for the quarter declined 2 percent to $2.9 billion. Merchandise and intermodal shipments increased during the quarter, but the gains "were more than offset by declines in coal resulting from low natural gas prices, high coal inventory at utilities and lower global demand," CSX officials said.

The lower revenue was partially offset by efficiency gains, they said. However, operating income still declined 4 percent to $804 million and the operating ratio increased 60 basis points to 72.1 for the quarter.

For the full year 2012, operating income rose 1 percent to 3.5 billion and the operating ratio improved 30 basis points to 70.6.

CSX also announced 2012 was a year for "exceptional safety and service levels." The Class I's personal injury rate was its best ever recorded for the quarter and the year, and the train accident rate for the quarter and year was near all-time best levels, officials said.

In addition, service levels remain high across all key measures, and customer satisfaction ratings also are at record levels, they said.

"CSX continues to demonstrate the underlying strength of its business model, the ability to respond quickly to significant events in the marketplace, and a steadfast focus on creating substantial shareholder value over the long term," said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Ward.