Railroad News

CN's Q2 profit slips on lower carload volume

CN's second-quarter 2016 net income declined slightly to $858 million, or $1.10 in diluted earnings per share, from $886 million, or $1.10, a year ago due to lower traffic volumes, the Class I announced yesterday. (All monetary figures are reported in Canadian dollars.)

Operating income fell 5 percent to $1.3 billion and revenue slipped 9 percent to $2.8 billion, as carloads plunged 12 percent during the quarter compared with Q2 in 2015.

CN's earnings beat analyst expectations for the quarter, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"CN continued to face a very challenging volume environment in the second quarter and maintained strong discipline in realigning resources to keep them in line with reduced freight demand," said Luc Jobin, president and chief executive officer. "Service remained solid, key operating metrics advanced, and we continued to improve our safety record."

The company's operating expenses fell 12 percent to $1.5 billion. Its operating ratio improved 1.9 points to 54.5 percent, setting a second-quarter record, CN officials said.

Second-quarter 2016 is expected to be the "volume trough" for the year, Jobin said.

"For the balance of 2016, we continue to expect some markets to remain strong, including lumber and panels, automotive, and refined petroleum products, and we anticipate a bumper grain crop in Canada," Jobin said. "At the same time, international intermodal volumes are expected to remain challenging while shipments of commodities related to oil and gas development, such as crude oil, frac sand and drilling pipe, are expected to decrease relative to last year."

Given those expectations, the company reiterated its financial outlook announced April 25 of delivering an earnings per share in line with last year's adjusted diluted EPS of $4.44.


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