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CSX records modest Q3 earnings growth

E. Hunter Harrison, president and chief executive officer of CSX, said the Jacksonville, Fla.-based Class I railway’s results for the quarter reflected “the resiliency of precision scheduled railroading.”

   CSX Corp. reported net earnings of $459 million for the third quarter of 2017, ticking up 1 percent from the corresponding 2016 period, according to the company’s latest financial statements released on Tuesday.
   The Jacksonville, Fla.-based Class I railway’s earnings per share (EPS) totaled $0.51 for the quarter, which investment bank Stifel said was in line with analyst consensus estimates. The railway’s EPS for the third quarter of 2016 totaled $0.48 per share.
   Meanwhile, CSX’s revenues for this year’s third quarter inched up 1 percent year-over-year to $2.74 billion.
   CSX Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Frank Lonegro said during an earnings conference call Tuesday that the railway’s revenues increase was driven primarily by core pricing gains of 3.5 percent all-in, and 2.2 percent excluding coal, as well as 1 percent volumes growth and higher fuel recoveries, partially offset by unfavorable mix.
   CSX also posted an operating ratio of 68.1 percent for the quarter, an improvement from an operating ratio of 69 percent for last year’s third quarter.
   The railway averaged 24,608 employees for the third quarter of 2017, a sharp decline from the third quarter of 2016 when it averaged 27,275 employees.
   Lonegro said CSX was pleased with its overall financial results for this year’s third quarter, despite being impacted by train derailments, a direct hit from Hurricane Irma, and transitioning to a new operating plan.
   In spite of CSX President and CEO E. Hunter Harrison’s precision scheduled railroading system taking heat last week during a Surface Transportation Board hearing, Harrison said, “the company’s results for the third quarter reflect the resiliency of precision scheduled railroading, even during times of transition.”
   Harrison stepped down as president and CEO of Canadian Pacific in January and was named CEO of CSX in March. He was also the former president and CEO of Canadian National.
   Looking ahead, Stifel said it has increased its EPS estimates for CSX from $2.17 to $2.24 for 2017, $2.70 to $2.75 for 2018, and $3.25 to $3.35 for 2019.
   CSX is scheduled to hold its Analyst and Investor Conference on Oct. 29-30 at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla.

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