November 13, 2008 / 6:54 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-CP Rail says will not offer 2009 earnings forecast

(Updates and adds details)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Canadian Pacific Railway (CP.TO) is not ready to provide earnings or revenue forecasts for 2009 due to the current economic uncertainty, Chief Executive Fred Green said on Thursday.

“The huge range of possible economic activity makes earnings guidance estimates too wide to be meaningful,” Green told the company’s Investors Day meeting, at which it has usually released its forecasts for the year ahead.

Canadian Pacific, which operates across Canada and in the northern United States, also said it is not expecting any significant economic recovery for North America until 2010 and that the downturn will hit its merchandise business.

Green said the only financial guidance that CP, Canada’s No 2 railway, was ready to release was its announcement earlier on Thursday that it had significantly lowered its forecast for capital expenditures for 2009 due to the economic climate.

Canadian Pacific said capital investment in 2009 is expected to be C$800 million ($650.4 million) to C$820 million. That is down by about C$200 million from 2008 for the combined capital spending of CP and Dakota Minnesota & Eastern Railroad, the company said.

Canadian Pacific bought DM&E in 2007 and took operational control at the end of October.

The railway, which usually holds its Investors Day meeting near the end of the year, will hold its meeting for 2009 in May or June, when it may be able to give longer-term financial guidance, Green said.

Canadian Pacific has projected earnings per share of between C$4.00 to C$4.20 for 2008 and revenue growth of between 4 and 6 percent. Both figures reflect revisions made midway through the year due to the slowing economy and higher fuel costs. ($1=$1.24 Canadian) (Reporting Allan Dowd, Editing by Peter Galloway)

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