Canadian Pacific Q1 profit, revenue rise

By: The Canadian Press

 | Apr 22, 2014 - 9:44 AM |
Grain and oil rail cars pass by a grain elevator in Rosser, Man., March 24, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Grain and oil rail cars pass by a grain elevator in Rosser, Man., March 24, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

CALGARY - Canadian Pacific Railways (TSX:CP) says it overcame a slow start to the year and produced a $254 million net profit in the first quarter, up 17 per cent from $217 million in the comparable period in 2013.

Net income per share rose to $1.44 from $1.24 in last year's first quarter.

The Calgary-based company's revenue also increased year-over-year but more slowly, rising to $1.509 billion from $1.495 billion in last year's first quarter.

CP's operating expenses declined substantially to $1.086 billion from $1.133 billion while its operating ratio improved by 3.8 percentage points to 72.0 per cent.

Canada's two biggest railways — CP and Montreal-based Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR) — were under pressure from during the quarter to deal with a backlog of grain shipments caused by a combination of factors.

The federal government ordered the rail companies to increase the amount of grain they moved to a minimum of one million tonnes per week or face fines of up to $100,000 per day and introduced proposed changes to the Canada Grain Act and Canada Transportation Act in an effort to clear a transportation bottleneck.

Canadian Pacific's position was that the legislative changes would not move the unusually big grain harvest to markets more quickly, given that its employees were working around the clock to cope with an extremely harsh winter.

"CP delivered solid results in a period that was severely impacted by extraordinary cold and severe winter weather conditions,” said Canadian Pacific CEO Hunter Harrison said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Despite a slow start to the year and the reduced capacity which limited our ability to meet strong customer demand, we still have the utmost confidence in our ability to achieve our financial targets for 2014.”

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