BNSF boosts 4th quarter earnings, revenues
Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) reported Tuesday a 19-percent jump in fourth quarter freight revenues, to an all-time quarterly record of $2.92 billion, together with a record operating income of $668 million.
BNSF’s total revenue for the fourth quarter increased to $2.98 billion, from $2.49 billion in the fourth quarter of 2003.
Operating income for the quarter at the second largest U.S. railroad was 40 percent higher than in the fourth quarter of 2003. Its operating ratio, defined as operating costs divided by operating revenue, improved to 77.1 percent from 80.6 percent in the same quarter of 2003.
The company’s operating expenses during the fourth quarter increased 15 percent to $2.31 billion, $295 million higher than the same period in 2003. The higher expenses were due to a 10 percent increase in gross ton-miles and higher fuel prices, BNSF said.
Unlike Union Pacific, which said this week its fourth-quarter net earnings dropped 86 percent to $79 million, BNSF reported a 54-increase rise in net earnings to $347 million for the fourth quarter.
“For the third consecutive quarter, BNSF experienced unprecedented market demand from its customers. As a result, BNSF achieved all-time record volumes and revenues,” said Matthew K. Rose, BNSF chairman, president and chief executive officer.
For the year, BNSF earned a net income of $791 million, down from $816 million in 2003. Operating income was virtually unchanged, at $1.7 billion, and revenue increased to $10.4 billion, from $9.4 billion.
BNSF’s stock closed up 4.6 percent at $46.69 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday evening.