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CP Railway profit rises on higher freight revenue

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd (CP-T), Canada's second-biggest rail operator, reported a 20-percent rise in third-quarter profit on higher freight revenue.

Net income rose to $224 million, or $1.30 per share, from $187 million, or $1.10 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.23 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total revenue rose 8 percent to $1.45 billion including freight revenue of $1.41 billion, which also rose 8 percent.

CP's operating ratio, an important barometer of performance in the railroad industry, fell to 74.1 percent from 75.8 percent.

The lower the number -- which measures operating costs as a percentage of revenue -- the more efficient the operation. By this measure, CP is one of the weakest performers among North America's big railroads.

CP has an operating ratio target of 70 percent to 72 percent by 2014 and 68.5 percent to 70.5 percent by 2016.

Investors now have high hopes for the Calgary, Alberta-based railroad company after its chief executive officer, chairman and several board members were replaced earlier this year.

The company in June appointed railroad veteran Hunter Harrison as chief executive, the handpicked choice of its biggest shareholder -- William Ackman's hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management.

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