CSX Corp sees Q4 profit decline 2 percent

By Josh Funk, AP

OMAHA, Nebraska — CSX Corp.’s fourth-quarter profit declined 2 percent as the railroad worked to limit its costs while shipping demand remained weak.

The Jacksonville, Florida-based railroad said Tuesday it generated USUS$458 million in net income, or 49 cents per share, in the fourth quarter. That’s down from USUS$466 million net income, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier.

CSX said its results were affected by an extra week in this year’s quarter that added 3 cents per share and some offsetting one-time items.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected CSX to report earnings per share of 50 cents.

Analysts also expected CSX to report revenue of USUS$2.88 billion during the last three months of the year. The railroad reported USUS$3.04 billion revenue, up from USUS$2.78 billion a year earlier.

CSX Chairman and CEO Michael Ward said on CNBC that the economy showed some signs of improvement in the fourth quarter and manufacturing activity increased.

“It looks like some positive momentum going into 2017,” Ward said on CNBC.

The railroad hauled 5 percent more carloads of freight in the quarter while freight volume for the entire year actually fell 5 percent.

Ward said CSX improved its productivity by USUS$430 million last year. That partially offset the USUS$470 million drop in coal revenue CSX saw last year, but the railroad was also dealing with weak demand in other markets and higher fuel and labor costs.