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Fewer Grain Exports, Supply Chain Issues Lower CN Profits

Global supply chain snarls and harsh winter contribute to diluted earnings

Photo courtesy of CN Railway
Photo courtesy of CN Railway

Canadian National Railway Co. is lowering its earnings forecast for the year after profits sagged in its first quarter.

Citing tough operating conditions and "worldwide economic uncertainty," the Montreal-based company now predicts adjusted diluted earnings per share growth of between 15% and 20%, versus its target of 20% at the start of the year.

In its first quarter results, CN reports "sound operating and financial performance across the board," with adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of C$1.32, up 7%.

According to reports, higher freight rates and coal and U.S. grain export volumes boosted revenue, but a smaller overall grain crop, fewer West Coast container shipments, global supply snarls and harsher winter weather all contributed to a net earnings drop of 6% to $918 million last quarter.

"CN has an incredible tri-coastal network, the best on the continent," said Tracy Robinson, president and CEO.

"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.”

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