UPDATE 1-CN Rail profit rises despite challenging winter
(Adds details on results, CEO comment from conference call)
TORONTO, April 22 (Reuters) - Canadian National Railway Co , the country's biggest railroad, reported first-quarter earnings that topped expectations on Tuesday and reaffirmed its 2014 financial outlook, even as an extremely cold winter hampered operations.
Net earning rose to C$623 million, or 75 Canadian cents per share, from C$555 million, or 65 Canadian cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
Revenue rose 9 percent to C$2.69 billion.
Adjusted earnings per share were 66 Canadian cents, compared with 61 Canadian cents in the year-ago quarter.
Analysts, on average, were expecting 62.5 Canadian cents a share and revenue of C$2.64 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
""It is the harshest winter at least I have been involved with and I have been at CN for 20 years," Chief Executive Claude Mongeau during a conference call. "It clearly impacted our ability to meet all of the customer demand that we had in front of us."
CN's results come after a record first quarter at rival Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.
CN said its operating ratio for the quarter slipped to 69.6 percent from 68.4 percent a year ago. Operating ratio is the percentage of revenue needed to maintain operations and is a key measure of railroad efficiency. The lower the number the better. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Leslie Adler)
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