Canadian National targets $8 billion in revenues by 2009

Canadian National targets $8 billion in revenues by 2009

Canadian National on Tuesday rolled out an ambitious five-year plan designed to keep the railroad on the financial fast track in the coming years.

E. Hunter Harrison, president and chief executive officer, unveiled what the company called its "new corporate vision" at it annual investors' conference in Toronto.

"CN is well positioned to deliver improved financial results," Harrison said in a statement released by the company. "We have a strong franchise, the rail industry's best profit margin, and a solid record of growing shareholder value. Indeed, since the company's IPO in 1995, the overall market value of CN has risen almost eight-fold to $15 billion."

Harrison, who last month renewed his employment contract with CN, said, "My commitment to CN over the next five years is to further enhance the railroad's competitive edge. My vision is to make CN not just the best-performing railroad in North America, but the continent's best-performing transportation company. Our goal is to extract even greater benefits from our innovative scheduled railroading practices, and to accelerate our relentless drive to push change and innovation throughout the organization."

The plan's goals:

-- To gain market share and improve pricing to achieve $8 billion in annual revenues by 2009

-- To reach an operating ratio of less than 65 percent

-- To produce consistent earnings growth, with targeted earnings per share increases of 8 to 12 percent annually over the next five years

The railroad said the plan assumes sustained economic growth, lower crude oil prices, the Canadian dollar trading in the mid-US70 cents range, and other factors.