UPDATE 1-CP Rail shares climb on high hopes for efficiency plan

Wed Dec 5, 2012 3:53pm EST
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* CP shares touch all-time high on TSX

* Railway reducing assets, cutting 4,500 jobs

* CP executives detail efficiency plan in New York (Updates stock price, adds detail from presentation)

By Susan Taylor

TORONTO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Shares of Canadian Pacific Railway touched an all-time high on Wednesday as the railroad detailed a turnaround plan that includes sweeping job cuts which could save about C$500 million ($503 million) over the next four years.

The stock's rally extends a gain of nearly 30 percent since hard-driving railway veteran Hunter Harrison was appointed chief executive in June after CP's largest shareholder, Pershing Square Capital Management Ltd, won a bruising proxy battle with former management.

Harrison, who on Tuesday outlined key points in a plan that will eliminate about 23 percent of CP's jobs in four years, said his turnaround plan would allow Canada's second-largest railway to thin out its assets and use them more efficiently.

"We're going to reduce the number of assets required; we're going to do more with less. We're going to make those assets really sweat," Harrison on Wednesday told analysts at a New York event to outline the company's turnaround plan.

Analysts said the overhaul appears a credible strategy to revive the fortunes of CP, whose operating efficiency is currently the North American industry's worst.   Continued...