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Rail News: Financials

CN attains all-time-low operating ratio, all-time-high revenue in second quarter


The U.S. Class Is are trying to get their quarterly operating ratios into the mid- to low-70s. A ratio in the 60s would be cause for celebration. The 50s? Most likely unattainable.

Don’t tell that to Canadian National Railway Co. The Class I that typically attains the lowest operating ratio among the large roads improved its second-quarter ratio 2.6 points to 58.6 — a new quarterly record — compared with the same 2005 period.

CN also generated all-time-high quarterly revenue of $1.72 billion, up 6 percent, primarily because of rate increases for all commodity groups, higher fuel surcharges, and volume growth led by grain and intermodal.

In addition, net income of $643 million rose 8 percent, adjusted net income of $422 million increased 22 percent and operating income of $710 million went up 13 percent compared with second-quarter 2005. Quarterly operating expenses increased only 1 percent to $983.5 million despite higher fuel, purchased services and material costs.

“CN’s excellent financial performance during the quarter demonstrates the power and value of our precision railroading model,” said CN President and Chief Executive Officer E. Hunter Harrison in a prepared statement. “Precision railroading is grounded in a solid service plan, the relentless pursuit of asset velocity and a strong focus on safety. This approach to railroading assured a fluid CN network during the quarter and permitted us to grow our business.”

During the year’s first half, revenue increased 7 percent to $3.3 billion, operating income rose 15 percent to $1.3 billion, net income jumped more than 50 percent to $962 million, operating expenses increased only 3 percent to $2.1 billion and CN’s operating ratio improved 2.7 points to 62.3 compared with first-half 2005.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/21/2006