CN Rail Earnings Beat Analysts' Estimates on Lower Costsby
Stronger U.S. currency also helps boost railroad's results
Company expects `mid single digit' EPS growth this year
Canadian National Railway Co., the country’s biggest railroad, reported fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates with the help of falling costs and the stronger U.S. dollar.
Adjusted earnings were C$1.18 a share, the Montreal-based railroad said Tuesday, beating the C$1.11 average forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 26 analysts. Revenue fell 1.3 percent to C$3.17 billion ($2.25 billion), compared with the C$3.18 billion average forecast.
Lower spending on fuel and purchased services enabled Canadian National to reduce operating expenses and weather an industry-wide drop in demand for commodities such as coal, crude oil and grain. Operating ratio, a closely watched measure of railroad efficiency that compares expenses to revenue, dropped to 57.2 percent in the fourth quarter -- a 3.5 percentage-point improvement.
The results were boosted 11 cents a share by the drop in the Canadian dollar, which increases the value of the company’s U.S. sales.
Profit will probably increase by “mid single digits” from last year’s C$4.44 a share, Canadian National said Tuesday. The quarterly dividend will climb 20 percent to 37.50 cents a share, the company also said.
Canadian National rose 1.6 percent to C$71.29 at the close of trading in Toronto. That cut the stock’s decline since Jan. 1 to 7.8 percent.
(A previous version of this story corrected the denomination in the first paragraph.)