Canadian Pacific's profit misses as freight volumes decline

Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:28pm EST
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By Allison Lampert and Euan Rocha

MONTREAL/TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO: Quote), the unsolicited suitor of U.S. railroad Norfolk Southern (NSC.N: Quote), reported lower-than-expected quarterly results on Thursday as falling prices for commodities such as oil and coal hurt freight volumes.

The No. 2 Canadian railroad, whose shares slid more than 3 percent, said it was pushing forward with plans to streamline its operations further in the face of lower revenue and would trim its workforce in 2016 by nearly 1,000 people, or about 7 percent.

"This is a story of recognizing up front the things that you cannot control, which is the economy, and then doing something about those that you can, like your operating performance," Chief Operating Officer Keith Creel said on a conference call.

The Calgary-based company is ahead of schedule in meeting previously outlined operating ratio targets, Creel said.

Despite lower freight volumes, the company said it aimed to push its operating costs as a percentage of revenue below 59 percent in 2016 from 60 percent in 2015. Years ago, it said it planned to bring the ratio down to 65 percent by mid-2016.

CP announced a $28 billion offer for Norfolk Southern in mid-November, saying a merger would enhance competition and create new markets and options for customers across North America.

However, Norfolk Southern has repeatedly rejected CP's advances, saying the proposed terms were "grossly inadequate" and that a deal would face substantial regulatory risks.


The Canadian Pacific railyard is pictured in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia in this file photo from February 15, 2015.  REUTERS/Ben Nelms/Files