CN reports 31% profit improvement for 1Q

April 26, 2011

Notwithstanding severe winter weather that caused rival Canadian Pacific’s profit to plunge 67 percent, Canadian National reported a 31 percent increase in first quarter 2011 profit versus first quarter 2010. This comes following a 19 percent increase in CN profit for calendar year 2010.

CN’s operating ratio for the first quarter 2011 was 69 percent, slightly better than the 69.3 percent reported for first quarter 2010. The railroad’s fourth-quarter 2010 operating ratio was 63.6.

Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the higher is profit.

CN CEO Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive officer credited “a well-executed winter operating plan” for the profit improvement.

CN is primarily a Canadian railroad. Its U.S. holdings include what were formerly Detroit, Toledo & Ironton; Elgin, Joliet & Eastern; Grand Trunk Western; Illinois Central; and Wisconsin Central.