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Union Pacific reports Q4 and full-year 2019 results

(Source: Union Pacific press release, January 23, 2020)

OMAHA, Neb. — Union Pacific Corporation today reported 2019 fourth quarter net income of $1.4 billion, or $2.02 per diluted share. This compares to $1.6 billion, or $2.12 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter 2018.

"Given the challenging volume environment, we leveraged strong productivity to deliver solid financial results including the third consecutive quarter with an operating ratio below 60 percent," said Lance Fritz, Union Pacific chairman, president and chief executive officer. "The work our employees are doing as part of Unified Plan 2020 has been transformational and key to providing a safe, reliable and consistent service product for our customers."

Fourth Quarter Summary

Operating revenue of $5.2 billion was down 9 percent in fourth quarter 2019, compared to fourth quarter 2018. Fourth quarter business volumes, as measured by total revenue carloads, decreased 11 percent compared to 2018. Industrial volumes were flat compared to 2018, while agricultural products, premium and energy shipments declined. In addition:

• Quarterly freight revenue declined 10 percent, compared to fourth quarter 2018, as core pricing gains and a positive business mix were offset by lower volumes and decreased fuel surcharge revenue.
• Union Pacific’s 59.7 percent operating ratio represented a fourth quarter record and the third consecutive quarter below 60 percent, improving 1.9 points compared to fourth quarter 2018.
• The $2.16 per gallon average quarterly diesel fuel price in fourth quarter 2019 was 7 percent lower than fourth quarter 2018.
• Quarterly freight car velocity was 220 daily miles per car, a 5 percent improvement compared to fourth quarter 2018.
• Terminal dwell was 23.3 hours, a 13 percent improvement compared to fourth quarter 2018.
• The Company repurchased 3.6 million shares in fourth quarter 2019 at an aggregate cost of $599 million.

Summary of Fourth Quarter Freight Revenues

• Industrial flat
• Agricultural Products down 2 percent
• Premium down 14 percent
• Energy down 25 percent

2019 Full Year Summary

For the full year 2019, Union Pacific reported net income of $5.9 billion or $8.38 per diluted share, which represents a 1 percent decrease and 6 percent increase, respectively, when compared to 2018.

Operating revenue totaled $21.7 billion compared to $22.8 billion in 2018. Operating income totaled $8.6 billion, which was flat compared to 2018. In addition:

• Freight revenue totaled $20.2 billion, a 5 percent decrease compared to 2018. Carloadings were down 6 percent versus 2018, with growth in industrial volumes more than offset by fewer agricultural products, premium and energy shipments.
• Union Pacific’s operating ratio improved to a best ever 60.6 percent, 2.1 points lower than 2018.
• Average diesel fuel prices decreased 7 percent to $2.13 per gallon in 2019 from $2.29 per gallon in 2018.
• Fuel consumption rate, measured in gallons of fuel per thousand gross ton miles, improved 2% in 2019 compared to 2018.
• Union Pacific recognized a payroll tax refund of $78.5 million, along with associated interest income of $31.3 million in 2019.
• Freight car velocity was 208 daily miles per car, a 6 percent improvement compared to full year 2018.
• Terminal dwell was 24.8 hours, a 17 percent improvement compared to full year 2018.
• Union Pacific’s reportable personal injury rate of 0.90 incidents per 200,000 employee hours increased 11 percent compared to full year 2018.
• Union Pacific’s capital program in 2019 totaled $3.2 billion.
• Union Pacific repurchased 35 million shares in 2019 at an aggregate cost of $5.8 billion.

2020 Outlook

"While we are pleased with our progress in providing a highly consistent, reliable and efficient service product for our customers, we must improve our safety results," Fritz said. "As always, we remain focused on growing the business and improving margins while driving shareholder returns."

Thursday, January 23, 2020

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