* Last year’s first-quarter results hit by severe weather
* This year’s “numbers should be good,” CFO says
TORONTO, March 15 (Reuters) - First-quarter financial results at Canadian National Railway will be better than those of the year-before quarter, when operations were hit by severe winter conditions, the chief financial officer of the country’s biggest railroad said on Thursday.
“This year, winter did show up, but it was a lot less brutal than last year,” CFO Luc Jobin said via webcast from a JP Morgan aviation, transportation and defense conference in New York.
“We’re going to be (comparing) against a very tough first quarter last year, so the numbers should be good.”
The railroad, which has tracks across Canada and the United States, also continues to be buoyed by a recovering economy, he said.
“We’ll be showing some great productivity numbers and the business has been fairly good overall. So I think we’re looking at a solid quarter, there’s no question about it,” Jobin said.
For 2012, CN expects up to 10 percent growth in adjusted earnings per share and free cash flow of approximately C$875 million ($884 million), Jobin said, repeating previous forecasts. Offsetting those gains will be a pension benefit expense of about C$120 million.