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CN reports record Q4-2016 net income of C$1,018 million, with diluted earnings per share (EPS) up 12 per cent to C$1.32 and up four per cent to C$1.23 on an adjusted basis (1)

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MONTREAL, Jan. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ – CN (TSX: CNR) (NYSE: CNI) today reported its financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2016.

Fourth-quarter 2016 financial highlights

Full-year 2016 financial highlights

Luc Jobin, president and chief executive officer, said: “Despite facing difficult winter conditions in December, CN delivered very strong fourth-quarter results and throughout 2016 demonstrated once again its ability to perform well in a mixed economic environment.

“We saw weaker volumes during the year, but quickly adjusted as our dedicated team of railroaders maintained its focus on operational efficiency, while continuing to provide quality service to our customers and improve our safety performance.”

2017 outlook, increased dividend (2)
Jobin said: “Overall, the economy remains challenging, but we remain optimistic and expect to see moderate volume growth in 2017.”

CN expects to deliver EPS growth in the mid-single-digit range in 2017 over adjusted diluted EPS of C$4.59 in 2016. (1) CN will continue to invest in the safety and efficiency of its network, with a 2017 capital investment program of approximately C$2.5 billion, which includes increased spending for Positive Train Control technology in the United States. 

The Company’s Board of Directors today approved a 10 per cent increase to CN’s 2017 quarterly cash dividend.

Fourth-quarter 2016 revenues, traffic volumes and expenses
Revenues for the quarter increased by two per cent to C$3,217 million. Revenues increased for grain and fertilizers (14 per cent), automotive (four per cent), and intermodal (one per cent). Revenues declined for metals and minerals (six per cent), coal (six per cent), petroleum and chemicals (five per cent), while revenues for forest products remained flat.

The revenue increase was mainly attributable to higher volumes of Canadian grains and U.S. soybeans, refined petroleum products, finished vehicles, and petroleum coke; as well as freight rate increases. These factors were partly offset by lower volumes of crude oil, U.S. thermal coal, and drilling pipe; and lower applicable fuel surcharge rates.

Carloadings for the quarter increased three per cent to 1,369 thousand.

Revenue ton-miles (RTMs), measuring the relative weight and distance of rail freight transported by CN, increased by four per cent, while rail freight revenue per RTM, a measurement of yield defined as revenue earned on the movement of a ton of freight over one mile, decreased by three per cent.

Operating expenses for the quarter increased by one per cent to C$1,822 million. The increase was primarily due to higher casualty and other expenses, and higher depreciation and amortization

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