CSX, the largest coal transporter east of the Mississippi River serving more than 120 load-outs in nine states, said it had recorded revenue of $3 billion for the quarter, driven by growth across many of its markets and an improved pricing environment.
However, this was partially offset by the impact of low natural gas prices, lower fuel recoveries and the strong US dollar.
At the same time, CSX said the benefit of lower fuel prices and cost-saving initiatives more than offset higher inflation and volume-related costs in the quarter.
As a result, operating income increased by 14% to $843 million and operating ratio improved 330 basis points to 72.2%.
“In this dynamic economic and business environment, CSX's core earnings remain strong and we are continuing our drive to provide excellent service for our customers and value for our shareholders,” CSX CEO and chairman Michael Ward said.
“Our commitment and confidence in CSX's future is underscored by the positive shareholder actions we're taking today.”
The CSX board of directors approved a 13% increase in the quarterly dividend to $0.18 per share, payable on June 15 to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 29. The board also approved the new share repurchase program.
This will be the company’s 13th increase in 10 years, representing a 26% compound annual growth rate during that time.
The $2 billion share repurchase program is expected to be completed over the next two years.
This follows the successful completion of CSX's previous repurchase plan, during which the company bought back $1 billion worth of shares. Since 2006, CSX has repurchased nearly $9 billion in shares.