JACKSONVILLE, Fla., May 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the difficult winter conditions of the first quarter, CSX (NYSE: CSX) is positioned to capitalize on underlying economic strength and market opportunities in the balance of 2014 to grow earnings, Fredrik Eliasson, CSX Corporation executive vice president and chief financial officer, told investors and analysts at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Transportation Conference in Boston.
"With winter behind us, volume growth has picked up strongly, and we have visibility to several million new tons of domestic coal as inventories are normalizing and natural gas prices have risen," Eliasson told investors. "With the broader economy remaining healthy and with this improved environment for our domestic coal business, we expect to produce modest earnings growth in 2014."
Through the first five weeks of the second quarter, CSX volume increased 9 percent, with broad-based growth across nearly all markets. Expectations for 2014 will represent the ninth time in the last ten years that CSX has produced earnings growth for investors, despite a 55 percent loss in domestic coal volume over the last several years.
"We have emerged from the reshaping of the energy markets as a stronger, more flexible and more customer-driven company," Eliasson said. "CSX is well positioned to deliver compelling results for our shareholders as we support manufacturing renewal, energy independence and global trade."
The company expects to again produce double-digit earnings growth and margin expansion beginning in 2015, and expects to sustain an operating ratio in the mid-60s longer-term. This builds on a foundation of success over the last ten years during which CSX increased EPS nearly 2000 percent with total shareholder return of nearly 500 percent, easily outperforming the broader market.
CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For more than 185 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation's economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation's population resides. It also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and small farming towns alike. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com. Like us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/OfficialCSX) and follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/CSX).