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Rail News: Kansas City Southern

KCS set four financial records in Q1


Today, Kansas City Southern announced that it set one all-time financial record and three first-quarter records in Q1.

Revenue increased 12 percent versus first-quarter 2011 to a quarterly record $548 million while carloads rose 7 percent to a first-quarter high 508,100 units, operating income jumped 23 percent to a Q1 best $158 million and the operating ratio (OR) fell 2.6 points to a Q1 low 71.2. The OR also decreased 0.4 points compared with the fourth-quarter 2011 ratio.

“We are encouraged by the overall strength of our first quarter results,” said KCS President and Chief Executive Officer David Starling in a prepared statement. “The first quarter is typically the most challenging in terms of operations and volumes. For us to have an operating ratio of 71.2 percent in the quarter is a good start to the year.”

Revenue growth was driven by a 26 percent increase in intermodal business and a 21 percent rise in automotive revenue. Industrial and consumer products revenue climbed 17 percent, agriculture and minerals revenue rose 14 percent, and chemical and petroleum revenue increased 6 percent.

Starting in the first quarter, KCS expanded its coal business unit to better reflect the Class I’s diversified opportunities in the energy sector. The renamed energy unit includes coal and petroleum coke, crude oil, frac sand and other new energy markets. Energy revenue declined 1 percent in the quarter primarily because utility coal business fell 10 percent, and coal and petroleum coke business declined 7 percent.

KCS also reported that first-quarter diluted earnings per share reached 68 cents compared with 58 cents in the year-ago period. Total operating expenses climbed from $360.8 million in first-quarter 2011 to $389.7 million primarily because fuel costs rose from $79.5 million to $88.3 million, and compensation and benefits costs increased from $100.4 million to $109.3 million.

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