CALGARY – The man who was brought in last year to shake up Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (TSX:CP) says a strong first quarter — which broke several company records — has put CP on track to have the best year in its 132-year history.
CP chief executive Hunter Harrison, who was brought in last year after a highly public and hotly contested shareholder revolt against the former leadership, said he’s happy with the progress but not finished with transforming the company.
“CP delivered the best first quarter results in its history despite challenging winter conditions,” said Harrison said in a statement Wednesday.
“There remains a lot of work to do as we continue to make significant changes to our operating model. With a very strong start to the year and momentum quickly building, I am now even more confident that we are on pace toward the best year-end financial and operating performance in CP’s history.”
The Calgary-based railway, which traces its history to 1881 during the early years of Canada’s independence, reported $217 million or $1.24 per share of net income in the first quarter, beating analyst estimates and up from $142 million or 82 cents per share in the first quarter of 2012, under the leadership of Harrison’s predecessor.
Its revenue was up nine per cent to a quarterly record of $1.495 billion, also slightly better than the consensus estimate. A year earlier, CP’s revenue was $1.376 billion.
Analysts had been looking for $1.20 per share of net income, $1.21 per share in adjusted income and $1.491 billion of revenue in the three months ended March 31, according to Thomson Reuters.
The railway’s operating ratio — a measure of efficiency — improved to 75.8 per cent, which Canadian Pacific said was a record for the company.