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CN Rail profits slip one per cent to $958 million in third quarter


Montreal, QC — Canadian National Railways says it remains on track to see its profits grow this year despite seeing its net income slip one per cent to $958 million in the third quarter.

That equalled $1.27 per diluted share, up from $1.25 per share a year earlier.

The Montreal-based railway said its adjusted profits reached $989 million or $1.31 per share during the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares to $1.25 per share a year ago and $1.32 forecast by analysts, according to RBC Capital markets.

Revenues rose seven per cent to $3.2 billion. They were driven by a 31 per cent increase for metals and minerals. Coal was up 23 per cent, intermodal up 12 per cent, automotive rose four per cent and other revenues were up two per cent. Revenues were down two per cent for forest products, grain and by one per cent for fertilizers, while petroleum and chemicals revenues remained essentially flat.

CN Rail reaffirmed its outlook to earn $4.96 to $5.10 per adjusted diluted share for the year, up from $4.59 per share in 2016.

Operating income increased by four per cent during the quarter to $1.46 billion.

Revenue ton-miles (RTMs) increased by 10 per cent and carloadings by 11 per cent.

The operating ratio, which measures the efficiency of the railway, rose 1.4 points to 54.7 per cent.

CN president and chief executive Luc Jobin said the country’s largest railway continued to see increased demand across key business segments, such as frac sand, intermodal, coal and Canadian grain.

The railway said it will spend an extra $100 million in infrastructure and equipment spending this year to reach $2.7 billion.

“During the third quarter, and continuing through the rest of the year, we’ve been hiring across our network, particularly in Western Canada, as we remain focused on delivering superior service to our customers,” he added.