CN Rail boosts three-year profit goals despite a few hitches in 2019

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TORONTO — Canadian National Railway Co. is nudging up its three-year financial targets with predicted low double-digit growth in earnings per share, though it sees weaker volume growth this year.

The bumped-up profit forecast for 2020 to 2022 exceeds the prior target of 10 per cent annual growth.

The Montreal-based railway reiterated its 2019 earnings per share goal of low double-digit growth.

Analyst Walter Spracklin of RBC Dominion Securities said the prediction of lower volume growth reflects weaker-than-expected revenue ton miles — a key industry metric.

Spracklin said a trade dispute with Chinese over canola, fewer frack sand carloads due to wet weather and traffic diversions due to the threat of a strike at the Port of Vancouver all hurt volumes.

He said the forecast, made as part of CN’s investor day this week, looked three years down the line rather than five years, suggesting the targets are a continuation of those rolled out at the company’s last investor day in 2017.

 

Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR)