Norfolk Southern Corp. said Wednesday it nearly doubled its profit in the second quarter, boosted by record railway operating revenue and the effects of tax legislation.
The railroad earned $424 million in the quarter ended June 30, compared to $213 million in the year-ago quarter. The recent quarter included a $96 million gain related to Ohio phasing out its corporate franchise tax, as well as an extra $24 million for the settlements of two coal rate cases.
Excluding those items, net income still set a record for any quarter before accounting changes, at $304 million.
Operating revenue rose 19 percent to $2.15 billion in the quarter from $1.81 billion.
The company said intermodal revenue rose 18 percent to $428 million in the second quarter. General merchandise revenue rose 12 percent to a record $1.15 billion. Coal revenue increased 36 percent to $578 million.
Railway operating expenses grew 13 percent to $1.56 billion, due to higher diesel fuel prices and costs associated with increased traffic volume, including expenses related to hiring additional train and engine service employees and maintenance activities.
The carrier's operating ratio, a key indicator of efficiency, improved 4.1 percentage points to 72.5 percent.
For the first six months, net income was a record $618 million, up 67 percent from $371 million during the same period in 2004.
Operating revenue in the first half increased 17 percent to $4.1 billion from $3.5 billion in the year-earlier period.