CN’s quarterly results demonstrate railroad’s resiliency during unprecedented economic times

Written by Press Release
Canadian National
Canadian National is ready to spend $50 million on its rail assets in Mississippi.
Canadian National

Company Contributing to Economic Recovery Through Reaffirmed and New Investments

Canadian National today reported its financial and operating results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2020.

“By being adaptable, we were able to swiftly rightsize our resources and continue to provide our essential transportation services to our customers, the economy, and the communities we serve. I could not be prouder of our railroaders as they never stopped working to keep our customers’ goods and the North American economy moving safely and efficiently throughout this pandemic. The decisive actions we took early on in March, well before the pandemic impacted the North American economy, allowed us to deliver over C$1B of free cash flow during this recessionary quarter. I’m pleased to reaffirm our commitment in encouraging the economic recovery through our C$2.9B capital investment plan for 2020 as well as our new investment announcement of the purchase of approximately 1,500 new, efficient, high-capacity, covered hopper cars to expand our grain export business for delivery starting in January of 2021. Our strategic long-term approach to investments, together with our continued focus on cost and deployment of innovative technology, as well as our commitment to enabling trade, position us to keep delivering long-term value to our stakeholders.”
– JJ Ruest, President and Chief Executive Officer of CN

Financial results highlights
Second-quarter 2020 compared to second-quarter 2019

  • Second quarter results were adversely impacted by the pandemic.
  • CN recorded a charge of C$486 million, or C$363 million after-tax (C$0.51 per diluted share), resulting from the decision to market for sale for on-going rail operations, certain non-core lines.
  • Revenues of C$3,209 million, a decrease of C$750 million or 19 per cent.
  • Diluted earnings per share (EPS) of C$0.77, a decrease of 59 per cent, and adjusted diluted EPS of C$1.28, a decrease of 26 per cent. (1)
  • Operating ratio of 75.5 per cent, an increase of 18.0 points, and adjusted operating ratio of 60.4 per cent, an increase  of 2.9 points. (1)
  • Operating income of C$785 million, a decrease of 53 per cent, and adjusted operating income of C$1,271 million, a  decrease of 24 per cent. (1)
  • Free cash flow of C$1,008 million, an increase of C$495 million. (1)
  • Moody’s reaffirmed CN’s investment grade credit rating of A2 with stable outlook.

Second-quarter 2020 revenues, traffic volumes and expenses
Revenues for the second quarter of 2020 were C$3,209 million, a decrease of C$750 million or 19 per cent, when compared to the same period in 2019. The decrease in revenues was mainly due to lower volumes across most commodity groups caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and lower applicable fuel surcharge rates, which were partly offset by increased shipments of Canadian grain, higher Canadian coal exports via west coast ports as well as freight rate increases. RTMs, measuring the relative weight and distance of freight transported by CN, declined by 18 per cent from the year-earlier period. Freight revenue per RTM decreased by one per cent over the year-earlier period.

Operating expenses for the second quarter increased by six per cent to C$2,424 million, mainly driven by a loss on assets held for sale resulting from the Company’s decision to market for sale for on-going rail operations, certain non-core lines, partly offset by lower fuel and labor costs. Excluding this one-time charge, operating expenses were down 15% versus last year.

More information is available online.

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