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Jan 29, 2020

CP Rail reports higher fourth-quarter profit

Dissecting CN Rail and CP Rail's latest quarters

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CALGARY -- Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. says it earned a fourth-quarter profit of $664 million, up from a profit of $545 million in the same period a year earlier.

The railway says its profit amounted to $4.82 per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from $3.83 per diluted share a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter totalled nearly $2.07 billion, up from nearly $2.01 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, CP Rail says it earned $4.77 per diluted share in the quarter, up from $4.55 per diluted share a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $4.66 per share for the quarter and $2.02 billion in revenue, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

CP Rail's operating ratio, an industry metric where a lower ratio means more efficient operations, rose to 57.0 per cent for the last three months of 2019 compared with 56.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018.

"CP's strong operational performance and commitment to controlling costs enabled the railway to be successful despite headwinds to our bulk franchise," CP Rail chief executive Keith Creel said in a statement.

"We continue to take a disciplined approach to sustainable, profitable growth -- a plan rooted in the foundations of precision scheduled railroading. This approach in 2019 enabled CP to once again deliver its highest-ever revenues and the lowest-ever yearly operating ratio."

For the full year, CP Rail reported net income of $2.44 billion or $17.52 per diluted share on $7.79 billion in revenue. That compared with net income of $1.95 billion or $13.61 per diluted share on nearly $7.32 billion in revenue in 2018.

The railway's operating ratio for 2019 improved to 59.9 per cent compared with 61.3 per cent in 2018.

On an adjusted basis, CP Rail said it earned $16.44 per diluted share in 2019, up from an adjusted profit of $14.51 per diluted share in 2018.

In its outlook for 2020, the railway said it expected single-digit to low double-digit adjusted diluted earnings per share growth relative to 2019.

Volume growth this year is expected to be in the mid-single digits as measured by revenue ton miles, while capital expenditures are forecast at $1.6 billion.