UPDATE 1-Canadian National Railway earnings beat, raises dividend

Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:51pm EST
 
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(New throughout, adds estimates, operating ratio)

TORONTO Jan 27 (Reuters) - Canadian National Railway Co earnings rose in the fourth quarter, topping expectations on a boost from higher volumes and more efficient operations, the company said on Tuesday, and it boosted its dividend.

CN Rail, Canada's biggest railway, raised its quarterly dividend 25 percent to 31.25 Canadian cents per common share.

CN Rail's operating ratio, a key efficiency measure, improved 4.1 points to 60.7 percent for the fourth quarter, but lagged CP Rail's 59.8 percent operating ratio. The ratio expresses operating costs as a percentage of revenue, so lower values are better.

Net income rose to C$844 million ($681 million), or C$1.03 a share, from C$635 million, or 76 Canadian cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose to C$3.21 billion from C$2.75 billion.

Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of 97 Canadian cents a share on revenue of C$3.12 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

($1 = $1.24 Canadian) (Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and David Gregorio)