CSX 4Q profit slips 5 percent but volume improves
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — CSX railroad’s fourth-quarter profit declined 5 percent as coal demand remained weak, but the volumes it hauled grew as the economy improved.
The railroad expects the economy to continue growing and is ready to take advantage of that growth, said CEO Michael Ward in a statement on Jan. 15.
The Jacksonville, Fla.-based railroad earned $426 million, or 42 cents per share, in the last three months of 2013. That’s down from $449 million net income, or 44 cents per share. The 2012 quarter included a one-time real estate gain of $57 million, or 6 cents per share.
Shares declined 3.5 percent to $28.21 in after-hours trading. CSX’s results fell just short of the 43 cents earnings per share that analysts surveyed by FactSet expected.
CSX revenue grew 5 percent to $3.03 billion, roughly what Wall Street predicted.
Edward Jones analyst Logan Purk said it is worrisome that the railroad’s revenue per carload slipped 1 percent. That suggests CSX might be having trouble increasing prices for shipments. But Purk said there are still several long-term positives for the railroad, such as the growing crude oil and intermodal businesses.
Intermodal shipping involves the metal containers that are also carried on ships and trucks.
“The clear positive is the volume number,” Purk said.
The railroad hauled 6 percent more carloads of freight during the quarter, as growth in other types of goods offset the 5 percent drop in coal shipments.
Chemical shipments, which include the fast-growing crude oil segment, increased 18 percent, agricultural shipments surged 16 percent and carloads of intermodal containers grew 11 percent.
CSX Corp. operates more than 21,000 miles of track in 23 Eastern states and two Canadian provinces.