Canadian National Railway (CN) has revised its 2022 financial outlook and lowered its earnings forecast despite recording an increase in revenues for the first quarter of the year.
The company now expects to achieve 15-20% adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) growth in the year. Previously, CN set a target of 20%.
It also reduced free cash flow forecast for 2022, trimming it to the range of $2.88bn-$3.12bn (C$3.7bn-C$4bn) from previous target of C$4bn.
CN updated the financial outlook citing challenging operating conditions in the first quarter of the year and global economic uncertainty.
In the three-month period that ended on 31 March 2022, the company’s revenues totalled $2.89bn (C$3.71bn). The figure represents a 5% increase compared to $2.75bn (C$3.53bn) recorded in the same period last year.
However, operating income in the quarter fell 8% on a year-on-year basis to $930m (C$1.2bn). Net income also fell $715.3m (C$918m) in Q1 2022 from $760.5m (C$976m) in Q1 2021.
Diluted EPS was C$1.31 in the first quarter of 2022, down 4% compared to C$1.37 recorded in the prior year period.
CN president and CEO Tracy Robinson said: “CN has an incredible tri-coastal network, the best on the continent. Our team of experienced railroaders demonstrated resilience in the first quarter, managing through severe winter weather conditions and supply chain disruptions to deliver solid results.
“I am encouraged by the cadence that we developed at the end of the quarter as we lifted out of winter operations. Looking ahead, our immediate focus is on restoring CN’s network to its full capacity and running a scheduled railroad with an emphasis on velocity. I am confident that we will have a strong year and deliver on our 2022 financial outlook.”
As a freight transportation services provider, CN carries more than 300 million tonnes of cargo annually across North America.
It is the only railroad to connect Canada’s Eastern and Western coasts with the US South through an 18,600-mile rail network.
Last year, CN selected Google Cloud to improve services.