CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA — Full-year earnings at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. benefitted from a strong fourth quarter in which revenues increased to a record C$2.006 billion.
Net income in the year ended Dec. 31, 2018, totaled C$1.951 billion, equal to C$13.65 per share on the common stock, down 19% from C$2.405 billion, or C$16.49 per share, in fiscal 2017. Fiscal 2018 results included an income tax expense of $637 million. Excluding the expense, net income in fiscal 2018 was C$2.588 billion, up 3.6% from $2.498 billion in fiscal 2017.
Revenues increased 12% to C$7.316 billion from C$6.554 billion.
Alongside its strong financial results, CP experienced strength in other areas of its business, Keith E. Creel, president and chief executive officer, said during a Jan. 23 conference call with analysts.
“2018 was also a very meaningful year across the organization from a sustainability standpoint,” Creel said. “As I highlighted back in our Investor Day, for those that truly understand our CP story, it’s a compelling one, we’ve got the service, the cost structure, the capacity to grow in a profitable and stable way. 2018 is an absolute proof point of these stats and stays. So record performance in 2018 was undeniable, an example of what our operating model can produce. We grew the top line to record levels by bringing in all new customers while we grew our existing loans without compromising our ability to provide capacity and deliver the service they deserve and that we committed.”
CP said it generated C$453 million in revenues from grain shipments in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, up from C$425 million in the same period a year ago. For the full year ended Dec. 31, revenues from grain shipments totaled $1.566 billion, up from $1.532 billion in the same period a year ago.
John K. Brooks, chief marketing officer and senior vice-president, said grain results were “sort of a tale of two stories.”
“Canadian grain volumes were up 7%, surpassing last year’s record levels,” Brooks said. “This was partially offset by continued weakness in our U.S. grain portfolio where volumes were down 18%, largely as a result of decreased shipments to the U.S. P&W.
“So look, as we enter 2019, we expect continued strength in Canadian grain through the first half of the year, given solid crop inventories and strong regulated pricing. And in the U.S., although January is off to a pretty decent start, we expect ongoing uncertainty in these markets.”
Creel added that U.S. grain remains a major concern area for the company.
“There’s some uncertainty in that, but that was there in 2017 as well,” he said. “We think we found the bottom, but who knows. We’ll see what happens in the second half of the year. But at this point, outside of those couple of places, we see underlying strength in opportunity, optimism and no pessimism yet.”