CP profits, revenue highest in history, but still miss expectations

CALGARY -- Canadian Pacific Railway says its fourth-quarter and 2015 adjusted profit was the highest in its history, which dates to the 19th century when Canada was a new country, but that was still below analyst estimates.

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The Calgary-based company had $2.08 per share of diluted earnings and an adjusted profit of $2.72 per share, the highest ever for CP's fourth quarter. For the full year ended Dec. 31, CP's adjusted earnings were a record $10.10 per share, up 19 per cent from 2014.

Canadian Pacific also had record high revenue in 2015 -- $6.71 billion for the full year -- although fourth-quarter revenue fell to $1.687 billion from $1.76 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014.

CEO Hunter Harrison said the company expects to build off its strong results, despite concerns about the economy that could affect some types of freight that CP carries through its North American rail network.

"While the North American economy braces itself for more headwinds, we remain optimistic about the future and CP's continued growth," Harrison said in a statement.

He said CP would focus on what it can control -- "lowering costs, creating efficiencies and improving service."

Still, analysts expected even better. CP's full-year adjusted earnings were eight cents below the consensus estimate of $10.18 per share and the quarter's adjusted earnings were five cents below the estimate of $2.77, according to Thomson Reuters.

Revenue was also below the mark: analysts had estimated $6.744 billion of revenue for the year, including $1.72 billion for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, according to Thomson Reuters.

Canadian Pacific is engaged in an effort to expand its presence in the United States through the proposed acquisition of Virginia-based Norfolk Southern -- a move that Harrison has said would improve CP's efficiency and deal with a choke point for freight shipments through the Chicago area.

Norfolk Southern has rejected CP's overtures.


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