Oct. 23--NORFOLK -- Norfolk Southern Corp. today reported that third-quarter profit rose 20 percent from the same period a year ago.
Net income for the Norfolk-based railroad totaled $482 million, or $1.53 a share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, up from $402 million, or $1.24 a share, in the third quarter of 2012.
The results beat Wall Street estimates by 14 cents a share. The consensus earnings-per-share estimate of 23 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial Network was $1.39 a share.
The railroad's operating revenues for the third quarter rose to $2.8 billion, up 5 percent from the same quarter a year ago.
"Norfolk Southern delivered strong results, led by growth in our chemicals, metals/construction, intermodal, and automotive businesses, combined with ongoing productivity improvements," said Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman in a company statement.
"Even in the face of continuing weakness in the coal markets, our focus on service efficiency and velocity allowed us to provide superior performance for our customers and excellent results for our shareholders."
Coal revenues for the quarter slipped 9 percent from the same quarter a year ago, to $641 million.
Norfolk Southern's coal franchise, which includes serving about 100 coal-generation plants, accounted for about 26 percent of its total railway operating revenues in 2012, according to the company's annual report.
Quarterly revenue in the railroad's other business segments grew:
--Intermodal -- the handling of cargo containers that can move interchangeably by rail, truck or ship -- rose by 7 percent, to $605 million.
--General merchandise climbed 11 percent, to $1.6 billion, primarily due to a 6 percent growth in shipments.
On Tuesday, Norfolk Southern Corporation announced the regular quarterly dividend of 52 cents per share on its common stock, payable on Dec. 10, to stockholders of record on Nov. 1.
The company's stock price rose 60 cents a share Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, closing at $80.60.
Norfolk Southern operates roughly 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia.
As of July 1, it had 29,916 employees, including 1,131 employees in Hampton Roads.
Robert McCabe, 757-446-2327, email@example.com
(c)2013 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)
Visit The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.) at pilotonline.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Original headline: Norfolk Southern 3rd-quarter profit up 20 percent
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