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Burlington Northern Profit Is Down

October 22, 2002

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ Third-quarter profit fell 15 percent at Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., as costs rose and demand fell for shipping agricultural goods for export.

Fort Worth-based Burlington Northern said Tuesday it earned $192 million, or 51 cents per share, down from $225 million, or 58 cents per share, in last year’s July-to-September quarter.

The results met the forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Revenue slipped to $2.31 billion from $2.34 billion a year earlier.

Shares in Burlington Northern fell 34 cents to close Tuesday at $26.05 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Shipments of industrial products fell $11 million, or 2 percent, coal shipments rose $16 million, or 3 percent, but agricultural-product shipments dropped $32 million, or 9 percent, which the railroad attributed to lower demand for farm-product exports.

Consumer-product shipments increased $27 million, or 3 percent, because of more train-to-truck and international freight, despite the shutdown at West Coast ports at the end of the third quarter, Burlington Northern said.

Operating expenses rose 2 percent, partly due to higher pension costs because of the lower return on fund investments, Burlington Northern said. Fuel costs declined but most other expenses rose.

For the first nine months of the year, Burlington Northern earned $558 million, or $1.46 per share, compared to $554 million, or $1.41 per share, in the same period last year. Revenue declined to $6.68 billion from $6.91 billion.

A subsidiary, The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co., operates one of the largest rail networks in North America, with 33,000 miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian provinces.

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