AP News

Costs flatten 3Q profit at Canadian National Rail

NEW YORK (AP) — Canadian National Railway Co.'s third-quarter earnings barely grew as costs rose for labor, fuel and other items.

The freight railroad operator also announced a share-repurchase program of up to $1.4 billion to buy back up to 18 million shares.

Net income rose less than 1 percent, to $668.5 million (664 million Canadian dollars), or $1.53 (CA$1.52) per share. Analysts were expecting $1.53 per share, according to a survey by FactSet.

Much of the company's revenue is denominated in U.S. dollars. If currency exchange-rate fluctuations were excluded, net income would have dropped $8.1 million (CA$8 million) or 2 cents per share.

The company stood by its July forecast that full-year earnings per share will rise up to 15 percent compared with last year's $4.88 per share (CA$4.84).

Third-quarter revenue rose 8 percent to $2.52 billion (CA$2.50 billion), compared with analysts' forecast of $2.55 billion. Operating costs rose 10 percent.

CEO Claude Mongeau called the quarter a "solid" performance, with increasing revenue in all the company's business segments and most operating measurements.

Revenue from carrying petroleum and chemicals rose 15 percent due to a pickup in shipments of crude oil from western Canada.

Mongeau said the company was cautious about the economy but sees opportunities for long-term growth. He predicted that revenue would grow slightly faster than growth in the North American economy.

Before the report, U.S.-traded shares fell 30 cents to close at $87.87. During extended training, they lost 26 cents to $87.61.

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