CSX optmistic despite coal revenue drop

NORTH American rail and transport group CSX has confirmed the company’s 2015 guidance and outlined expectations for its key markets in 2016 despite the drop off in coal revenues at the Baird Industrial Conference in Chicago.

Lou Caruana

CSX chief financial officer Frank Lonegro said it has leveraged its diverse portfolio and network reach to consistently deliver record earnings growth, despite declines in coal revenue of more than $US1 billion over the past four years.

“While we expect the energy market headwinds to continue in 2016, we are focused on capturing opportunities in intermodal and industrial markets, and on delivering excellent service for customers to support our pricing, growth and efficiency targets,” he said.

Facing continued headwinds in the energy markets, CSX expects fourth quarter 2015 earnings per share to decline slightly compared to the same period in 2014. The company continues to target mid-single digit full-year earnings per share growth as intermodal growth and efficiency initiatives offset about $450 million in coal revenue declines.

CSX also continues to expect meaningful margin expansion in 2015 and a mid-60s operating ratio longer term as the company leverages longer trains, drives industrial development to leverage merchandise growth, continues investing in intermodal, and matches resources to business demand across its coal network.

Growth in 2016 will be led by intermodal, as CSX continues to drive highway-to-rail conversions to capture a share of the estimated 9 million loads in the East that are well-positioned for intermodal service.