Canadian Pacific reports sub-60 operating ratio and revenues of $1.86B

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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Canadian Pacific Railway Limited today announced third-quarter revenues of $1.86 billion, diluted earnings per share (“EPS”) of $4.41, adjusted diluted EPS of $4.12 and an operating ratio of 58.2 percent.

“This quarter played out as we expected. Following our record Q2 performance, we steadily built momentum through the quarter and finished strong,” said Keith Creel, CP President and Chief Executive Officer. “Thanks to our industry-leading operating model and world-class employees, we have persevered throughout 2020 and have significant momentum as we approach 2021.”

Third-quarter highlights

  • Strong operational performance in average train weights and average train lengths 
  • Revenues decreased by 6 percent to $1.86 billion from $1.98 billion last year
  • Reported diluted EPS of $4.41, a 1 percent decrease from $4.46 last year, and adjusted diluted EPS of $4.12, an 11 percent decrease from $4.61 last year
  • Operating ratio was 58.2 percent, a 210 basis point increase over last year’s third-quarter operating ratio of 56.1 percent
  • Federal Railroad Administration (“FRA”)-reportable personal injuries declined 26 percent to 1.06 from 1.44 in Q3 2019, and CP’s FRA-reportable train accident frequency dropped 14 percent versus Q3 2019 to 1.13 from 1.311 

“Our third quarter highlighted the strength of our bulk franchise and the power of our domestic intermodal and automotive operations,” Creel said. “Additionally, we built on our record average train weights and train lengths from Q2 and carried that through Q3. We remain committed to innovating and to making incremental, sustainable gains.”

1 FRA personal injuries per 200,000 employee-hours for the three months ended September 30, 2019 was previously reported as 1.39, restated to 1.44 in this Earnings Release. FRA train accidents per million train-miles for the three months ended September 30, 2019 was previously reported as 1.10, restated to 1.31 in this Earnings Release. These adjustments reflect new information available within specified periods stipulated by the FRA but that exceed the Company’s financial reporting timeline.

Updated outlook

CP expects a low-single-digit decline in revenue ton-miles in 2020 and at least mid-single-digit adjusted diluted EPS growth. CP continues to expect capital expenditures of $1.6 billion in 2020.

CP’s revised guidance assumes a full-year Canadian-to-U.S. dollar exchange rate of 1.35, other components of net periodic benefit recovery to decrease by approximately $40 million versus 2019 and an effective tax rate of approximately 24.8 percent as a result of the accelerated reduction of the Alberta corporate tax rate as compared to 25.0 percent previously.

“We continue to deliver for our customers and for the North American economy,” Creel said. “With Q4 volumes up 8 percent quarter to date and a strong outlook for the remainder of the year, we have raised our guidance to at least mid-single-digit adjusted diluted EPS growth 2. Given the strength of our operating model and growing momentum across our business, I remain confident that the best is yet to come.”

2 CP’s expectation for growth in excess of mid-single digits in 2020 adjusted diluted EPS is relative to 2019’s adjusted diluted EPS of $16.44. CP’s reported diluted EPS was $17.52 in 2019.

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