Inside Logistics

CN Rail posts record revenues

Oil and container traffic pushes railway to revenues of nearly $4 billion

July 24, 2019
by The Canadian Press (CPSTF)

MONTREAL – Crude-by-rail and container traffic drove Canadian National Railway Co. to its highest ever quarterly revenue and adjusted earnings per share last quarter.

The country’s largest railroad operator said net income rose four per cent year over year to $1.36 billion in the quarter ended June 30.

On an adjusted basis, diluted earnings per share climbed 15 per cent to $1.73 – a record for the second quarter – compared to $1.51 during the same period in 2018.

Analysts had expected adjusted diluted earnings of $1.65 per share, according to the financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Revenues rose nine per cent to a record $3.96 billion.

About 45 per cent of the windfall came from containers and petroleum and chemicals – CN Rail’s two biggest lines of business – which rose 15 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively, to hit $1.77 billion.

“The CN team delivered record second-quarter results, and we remain optimistic on CN’s volume prospects in the second half of the year while maintaining our vigilance on costs,” said chief executive Jean-Jacques in a release.

CN Rail’s operating ratio, a measure of the railway’s efficiency that divides operating expenses by net sales – a smaller ratio means better performance – improved 70 basis points to 57.5 per cent, which CN called the lowest in the industry for the quarter.

The company said its board approved a third-quarter dividend of 53.75 cents on common shares outstanding, to be paid on Sept. 30.