Higher freight volumes, rates lift CSX quarterly profit

By By Nick CareyMarketsReuters

No. 3 U.S. railroad CSX Corp on Wednesday reported a better-than-expected quarterly net profit driven by rising freight volumes across most of the markets it covers and said it plans to cut costs and boost profitability moving forward.

CSX shares rose nearly 3 percent in after-hours trading.

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These were the first quarterly results for the Jacksonville, Florida-based railroad since the appointment of veteran railroad executive Hunter Harrison as chief executive in March.

Harrison has won renown among investors for turning around three rail companies so far including Canadian National Railway Co and most recently Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd using his concept of "precision scheduled railroading."

"I am pleased to join the CSX team and working together we are going to make this company the best North American railroad, capable of consistently meeting and exceeding the expectations of our customers and our shareholders," Harrison said in a statement.

CSX posted first-quarter net profit of $362 million or 39 cents a share, up from $356 million or 37 cents per share a year earlier.

Excluding a one-time restructuring charge of $173 million, the company posted earnings per share of 51 cents. Analysts on average had expected earnings per share of 42 cents.

In after-market trading, CSX shares were up 2.8 percent at $48.23.

(Editing by Peter Cooney and Matthew Lewis)