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Union Pacific reports 4Q16 results

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Union Pacific Corporation has reported 2016 fourth quarter net income of US$1.1 billion, or US$1.39 per diluted share compared to US$1.31 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter 2015.

"While full-year volumes were down substantially year over year, we did see declines moderate in the fourth quarter," said Lance Fritz, Union Pacific chairman, president and chief executive officer. "As we worked through the challenges of the year, we remained focused on the strategy we live each day through our six value tracks. Executing on these value tracks enables us to run a safe, efficient, and productive railroad while providing our customers an excellent value proposition."

Fourth Quarter Summary

Operating revenue of US$5.2 billion was down 1% in the fourth quarter 2016 compared to the fourth quarter 2015. Fourth quarter business volumes, as measured by total revenue carloads, declined 3% compared to 2015. While shipments of agricultural products grew 8%, volumes declined in the remaining five business groups. In addition:

  • Quarterly freight revenue decreased 1% compared to the fourth quarter 2015, as volume declines and lower fuel surcharge revenue more than offset core pricing gains.
  • Union Pacific's 62.0% operating ratio improved 1.2 points compared to the fourth quarter 2015.
  • The US$1.65 /gal. average quarterly diesel fuel price in the fourth quarter 2016 was 2 percent higher than the fourth quarter 2015.
  • Quarterly train speed, as reported to the Association of American Railroads, was 26.5 mph, 2% slower than the fourth quarter 2015.
  • The company repurchased 9.6 million shares in the fourth quarter 2016 at an aggregate cost of nearly US$940 million.
  • Summary of 4Q16 freight revenues

  • Agricultural Products up 7%.
  • Chemicals flat.
  • Intermodal flat.
  • Industrial Products down 2%.
  • Automotive down 6%.
  • Coal down 6%.
  • 2016 full year summary

    For the full year 2016, Union Pacific reported net income of US$4.2 billion or US$5.07 per diluted share versus US$4.8 billion or US$5.49 per diluted share in 2015, representing 11 and 8% decreases, respectively. Operating revenue totaled US$19.9 billion as compared to US$21.8 billion in 2015. Operating income totalled $7.3 billion, a 10% decrease compared to 2015. In addition:

  • Freight revenue totalled $18.6 billion, a 9% decrease when compared to 2015. Carloadings were down 7% versus 2015, with      declines in the chemicals, coal, industrial products and intermodal business groups.
  • Average diesel fuel prices decreased 20% to US$1.48 per gallon in 2016 from US$1.84 per gallon in 2015.
  • Union Pacific's operating ratio increased to 63.5%, 0.4 points higher than the full-year record set in 2015.
  • Train speed, as reported to the Association of American Railroads, was 26.6 mph, 5% faster compared to the full year 2015.
  • Union Pacific's reportable personal injury rate of 0.75 incidents per 200 000 employee hours was a full-year record, improving 14% compared to 2015.
  • Union Pacific's capital programme in 2016 totalled just under US$3.5 billion, a decrease of approximately US$800 million compared to the full year 2015.
  • The Company repurchased 35.1 million shares in 2016 at an aggregate cost of US$3.1 billion.
  • 2017 Outlook

    "Looking to 2017, we are fairly optimistic about some of the macro-economic indicators that drive our core business. Higher energy prices, favourable agricultural markets and improving business and consumer confidence all support a return to positive volume growth this year," Fritz said. "We continue to have confidence in the strength and diversity of the Union Pacific franchise, which will position us well to safely and efficiently leverage stronger volumes as our markets begin to rebound. We will continue to execute on our strategic value tracks to provide our customers an excellent service experience while generating strong returns for our shareholders."

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