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Rail News: Financials

UP boosts first-quarter, full-year earnings projections


Union Pacific Corp. is anticipating a more lucrative first quarter. Yesterday, the railroad announced quarterly earnings likely will range between $1.00 to $1.10 per diluted share compared with previous estimates of between 80 cent and 90 cents per diluted share.

The reasons: Stronger-than-anticipated commodity revenue growth and operating margin improvement due to mild winter weather, network management initiatives and expanded capacity. In addition, first-quarter carload volume is expected to increase 4 percent rather than a previously forecasted 3 percent and total commodity revenue should rise 17 percent compared with a projected 15 percent.

“We are very pleased by both the robust demand for our rail services and our ability to move record first-quarter volumes more efficiently,” said UP President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Young in a prepared statement. “Customers are also seeing greater consistency in our train operations and ongoing efforts to increase network capacity should facilitate service improvements throughout 2006.”

For the full year, UP expects to earn between $4.80 and $5.00 per diluted share compared with previous estimates ranging between $4.60 and $4.80 per diluted share.

“We are optimistic about the ongoing strength of the economy in 2006, but remain mindful of the challenges associated with moving record volume across our system,” said Young.