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CN Rail reports modest rise in third-quarter earnings


Canadian National Railway Co (CNR-T), Canada's largest rail operator, reported a modest increase in third-quarter profit on Monday, as revenue grew in all its business segments, and announced a share buyback program.

Net income rose to $664 million, or $1.52 a share, from $659 million, or $1.46 a share in the same period a year earlier. Excluding certain items, earnings per share were $1.38 in the year-earlier quarter.

CN said it would spend up to $1.4 billion to purchase up to 18 million shares in a buyback program.

CN's operating ratio, which measures operating costs as a percentage of revenue, increased by 1.3 percent to 60.6 percent. The lower the number, the more efficient the operation.

Operating expenses rose 10 percent to $1.5 billion on higher labor and benefit costs, the Montreal-based company said.

Revenue in the quarter increased 8 percent to $2.5 billion, while car loadings rose 3 percent.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of $1.51 a share on revenue of $2.53 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"While cautious about the strength of the economy, we see continued opportunities to grow our business in the longer term," chief executive officer Claude Mongeau said in a statement.

"CN expects to increase revenues slightly faster than general growth in the North America economy and to accommodate this growth at low incremental cost," he added. CTV Two CTV News CTV News Channel BNN - Business News Network CP24