First-quarter 2020 net income totaled C$409 million, or C$2.98/diluted earnings per share, compared with C$434 million, C$3.09/diluted earnings per share, for the first quarter of 2019. At this time, a Canadian dollar is worth US$0.70.
The dip in first-quarter net profits was due in part to higher income tax expenses year-over-year: C$185 million versus C$139 million.
But total revenues were C$2.04 billion in the first quarter, a 15.6% increase from C$1.77 billion for the same period in 2019, while operating expenses were C$1.21 billion versus C$1.22 billion. CP’s operating ratio also fell to 59.2% from 69.3%. Operating ratio, which is a company’s operating expenses as a percentage of its revenue, can be an indicator of a company’s financial health.
Freight revenues were up 10% to C$418 million in the first quarter amid gains for grain, fertilizer and sulfur, energy, chemicals and plastic, and automotive, among other commodities.
Meanwhile, average terminal dwell time, which is the amount of time a train stays at a terminal, fell 22% to 6.2 hours. Average train speed also rose 2% to 21.6 miles per hour.
“We have had a tremendous start to 2020. Our operating team is tried and tested, and has shown exemplary leadership during a challenging period, including now managing the COVID-19 crisis,” said CP President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel.
He continued, “The same operating model that produced record results for CP during good times now serves us well during challenging economic times. The company is in a strong position from both a balance sheet and liquidity perspective, and as we navigate through this extraordinary period, we remain well-positioned not only to weather this storm, but to recover stronger on the other side. I could not be prouder of the team, particularly those on the operating side who continue to deliver for North Americans.”
CP updated its outlook for 2020 amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The railway said it now expects volume, as measured by revenue ton miles, to be down mid-single digits, while adjusted diluted earnings per share to be roughly flat year-over-year.
CP also expects capital expenditures to total C$1.6 billion in 2020, and it anticipates a U.S.-Canadian dollar exchange rate of 1.40.