JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — CSX Corp. reported third quarter 2008 earnings from continuing operations of $382 million, or 94 cents per share. This represents a 40 percent increase from the same period last year. In 2007, CSX reported third quarter earnings of $297 million from continuing operations, or 67 cents per share.
“CSX delivered impressive financial results in a challenging economy,” said Michael J. Ward, chairman, president and CEO. “Our resilient business portfolio and disciplined operations continue to generate substantial earnings growth for shareholders.”
Revenue increased 18 percent to nearly $3 billion, with nine of the company’s 10 market segments producing revenue gains despite ongoing softness in the housing and automotive sectors of the economy. Those gains were led by shipments of export coal, grain, ethanol and metals, as well as strong yields and fuel recovery in all markets.
Revenue growth and moderating fuel costs, combined with the company’s continued focus on productivity and cost control, increased operating income by 31 percent to $733 million, despite the impact of recent storms. In addition, the operating ratio improved 250 basis points to 75.2 percent, which represents a third quarter record.
Building on these results and taking into account current economic conditions, CSX is now targeting the low end of its earnings guidance of $3.65 to $3.75 per share. Through 2010, the company continues to target compound annual growth in operating income and EPS of 15 to 20 percent and 20 to 25 percent, respectively, as well as a high-60’s operating ratio by 2010. The company also said it has strong liquidity, access to credit and expects free cash flow of approximately $1 billion in 2008.
“CSX has momentum in our business and confidence in our ability to produce good results, even in periods of economic uncertainty,” said Ward. “In today’s environment, manufacturers and distributors are highly focused on gaining greater efficiency in their supply chains and railroads offer them the best transportation alternative. Combine that with our strong performance in safety, service and productivity, and CSX is well positioned to deliver shareholder value in the near- and long-term.”