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Rail News: Financials

With revenue on the rise, UP brightens first-quarter earnings forecast

Because of higher-than-expected revenue growth during the first quarter, Union Pacific Corp. is increasing its quarterly earnings estimate from between 25 cents and 35 cents per diluted share to between 43 cents and 48 cents per diluted share.

UP officials expect first-quarter revenue and carloads to increase 8 percent and 1 percent, respectively, compared with first-quarter 2004. Officials previously expected quarterly revenue to rise between 4 percent and 6 percent.

In addition, January’s West Coast storms will have less of an impact on first-quarter financial performance than previously expected. UP officials now project incremental capital expenditures to total $60 million and operating income to drop $55 million compared with previous estimates of $100 million for each.

"Although the storm challenges greatly impacted operations in our western region, we've seen improvements that helped increase our overall network velocity during the first quarter,” said UP Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dick Davidson in a prepared statement.

However, fuel prices will continue to decrease earnings despite some cost recovery from fuel surcharges, UP officials believe. First-quarter fuel costs are expected to average $1.43 per gallon compared with a projected range between $1.30 and $1.35 per gallon.

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More News from 3/22/2005