Investor Alert

New York Markets Close in:

press release

April 29, 2020, 8:00 a.m. EDT

Norfolk Southern reports first-quarter 2020 results, non-cash asset rationalization charge related to PSR implementation

NORFOLK, Va., April 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Norfolk Southern Corporation /zigman2/quotes/200877725/composite NSC +0.10% today reported first-quarter financial results of net income equal to $381 million, diluted earnings per share of $1.47, and an operating ratio of 78.4%. These results include a $385 million non-cash locomotive rationalization charge related to the ongoing disposition and marketing of excess locomotives not required for future operations due to the successful introduction of Precision Scheduled Railroading. Excluding the effects of the asset rationalization charge, adjusted first-quarter net income was $669 million, adjusted diluted earnings per share were $2.58, and the adjusted operating ratio improved by 230 basis points compared with first-quarter 2019 to 63.7%.

"During the first quarter, Norfolk Southern's determination to transform our operations once again produced all-time best service delivery levels accompanied by productivity improvements, despite volumes being impacted by weak energy prices and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic," said James A. Squires, Norfolk Southern chairman, president and CEO. "While it is unclear how long economic activity will remain suppressed, we are dedicated to serving our customers and keeping our employees healthy and safe while navigating the downturn so that we can emerge strong and resilient for our shareholders. I am extremely proud of the commitment and strength the Norfolk Southern team has displayed by keeping our nation's freight moving during this challenging start to 2020 while also enhancing our financial position."

First-quarter summary

  • Railway operating revenues of $2.6 billion decreased 8% compared with first-quarter 2019, driven by an 11% decline in total volume.

  • Railway operating expenses were $2.1 billion, including a $385 million non-cash locomotive rationalization charge related to locomotives marketed for sale and/or disposed of as a result of productivity gains achieved through the successful introduction of Precision Scheduled Railroading.

  • Income from railway operations was $568 million and the operating ratio was 78.4%.

Guidance update

  • Second-quarter volumes have continued to decline across all of Norfolk Southern's commodity segments, down 30% quarter-to-date, setting up for a very soft revenue outlook. With uncertainty on both the cadence of reopening the U.S. economy and the slope of recovery, we withdraw the previously-issued outlook for flat full year revenue.

  • As a result of the current volume environment, we also withdraw core operating ratio guidance for 2020.

  • "While the COVID-19 pandemic will effect business volumes for the year, the PSR implementation that our team is executing upon will generate significant operating expense savings in 2020," said Chief Financial Officer Mark R. George. "In this challenging environment our team is doubling down on examination of our structural cost opportunities to ensure that we remain positioned to drive enhanced profitability for the long term."

About Norfolk Southern Norfolk Southern Corporation   /zigman2/quotes/200877725/composite NSC +0.10% is one of the nation's premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway Company subsidiary operates approximately 19,500 route miles  in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern is a major transporter of industrial products, including chemicals, agriculture, and metals and construction materials. In addition, the railroad operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a principal carrier of coal, automobiles, and automotive parts.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures This news release includes certain non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures is provided in the table below, entitled "Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures."

Forward-looking statements This news release contains forward-looking statements that may be identified by the use of words like "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "plan," "consider," "project," and similar references to the future. Forward-looking statements reflect our good-faith evaluation of information currently available. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, and our actual results may differ materially from those projected. Please refer to our annual and quarterly reports filed with the SEC for a full discussion of those risks and uncertainties we view as most important. Additional risks include the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on us, our customers, our supply chain and our operations.   Forward-looking statements are not, and should not be relied upon as, a guarantee of future performance or results, nor will they necessarily prove to be accurate indications of the times at or by which any such performance or results will be achieved. As a result, actual outcomes and results may differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements.

Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures Information included within this press release includes non-GAAP financial measures, as defined by SEC Regulation G. Non-GAAP financial measures should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for, the financial measures reported in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

GAAP financial results are adjusted to exclude the effects of a non-cash charge in the first quarter of 2020 related to the disposal of approximately 300 locomotives and the designation of an additional 400 locomotives as held for sale. The introduction of precision scheduled railroading in 2019 continues to provide significant benefits to the network operations and has resulted in excess capacity resulting in the sidelining of these locomotives.

The Company uses these non-GAAP financial measures internally and believes this information provides useful supplemental information to investors to facilitate making period-to-period comparisons by excluding the locomotive disposal charge. While the Company believes that these non-GAAP financial measures are useful in evaluating the Company's business, this information should be considered as supplemental in nature and is not meant to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the related financial information prepared in accordance with GAAP. In addition, these non-GAAP financial measures may not be the same as similar measures presented by other companies.

($ in millions except per share amounts)

Quarter 2020

Railway operating expenses $ 2,057
     Effect of locomotive charge
Adjusted railway operating expenses $ 1,672

Income from railway operations $ 568
     Effect of locomotive charge
Adjusted income from railway operations $ 953

Operating ratio (%)
     Effect of locomotive charge (%)
Adjusted operating ratio (%)

Net income $ 381
     Effect of locomotive charge
Adjusted net income $ 669

Diluted earnings per share $ 1.47
     Effect of locomotive charge
Adjusted diluted earnings per share $ 2.58


Norfolk Southern Corporation and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Income

First Quarter


(in millions, except per share amounts)

Railway operating revenues

Merchandise $ 1,672

$ 1,686
Intermodal 655

Coal 298

Total railway operating revenues 2,625


Railway operating expenses

Compensation and benefits 622

Purchased services and rents 403

Fuel 189

Depreciation 292

Materials and other 166

Loss on asset disposal 385

Total railway operating expenses 2,057


Income from railway operations 568


Other income – net 22

Interest expense on debt 154


Income before income taxes 436


Income taxes

Current 44

Deferred 11

Total income taxes 55


Net income $ 381

$ 677

Earnings per share – diluted $ 1.47

$ 2.51

Weighted average shares outstanding – diluted 258.7


See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements


Norfolk Southern Corporation and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Balance Sheets

March 31,
December 31,


($ in millions)

Current assets:

Cash and cash equivalents $ 608

$ 580
Accounts receivable – net 889

Materials and supplies 265

Other current assets 240

Total current assets 2,002


Investments 3,470

Properties less accumulated depreciation of $11,794

and $11,982, respectively 31,179

Other assets 787


Total assets $ 37,438

$ 37,923

Liabilities and stockholders' equity

Current liabilities:

Accounts payable $ 1,284

$ 1,428
Income and other taxes 200

Other current liabilities 352

Current maturities of long-term debt 400

Total current liabilities 2,236


Long-term debt 11,807

Other liabilities 1,683

Deferred income taxes 6,828


Total liabilities 22,554


Stockholders' equity:

Common stock $1.00 per share par value, 1,350,000,000 shares

  authorized; outstanding 256,179,130 and 257,904,956 shares,

  respectively, net of treasury shares 258

Additional paid-in capital 2,205

Accumulated other comprehensive loss (481)

Retained income 12,902


Total stockholders' equity 14,884


Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $ 37,438

$ 37,923

See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements


Norfolk Southern Corporation and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

First Three Months


($ in millions)
Cash flows from operating activities

Net income $ 381

$ 677
Reconciliation of net income to net cash provided by operating activities:

Depreciation 292

Deferred income taxes 11

Gains and losses on properties (8)

Loss on asset disposal 385

Changes in assets and liabilities affecting operations:

Accounts receivable 32

Materials and supplies (21)

Other current assets (33)

Current liabilities other than debt (40)

Other – net (44)


Net cash provided by operating activities 955


Cash flows from investing activities

Property additions (366)

Property sales and other transactions 158

Investment purchases

Investment sales and other transactions (25)


Net cash used in investing activities (233)


Cash flows from financing activities

Dividends (242)

Common stock transactions 14

Purchase and retirement of common stock (466)

Proceeds from borrowings


Net cash used in financing activities (694)


Net increase in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash 28


Cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash

At beginning of year 580


At end of period $ 608

$ 499

Supplemental disclosures of cash flow information

Cash paid during the period for:

Interest (net of amounts capitalized) $ 121

$ 112
Income taxes (net of refunds) 16


See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements


1.  Loss on Asset Disposal In the first quarter of 2020, we committed to a plan to dispose of certain locomotives deemed excess and no longer needed for railroad operations.  Specifically, during the first quarter of 2020, the Company recorded a charge related to the loss on the sale of approximately 300 locomotives disposed of in the first quarter, and a write-down of approximately 400 additional locomotives that we are actively marketing to sell.   Accordingly, a $385 million loss was recorded to adjust their carrying amount to their estimated fair value. The loss on asset disposal reduced "Earnings per share – diluted" by $1.11.

2.  Stock Repurchase Program We repurchased and retired 2.6 million and 2.9 million shares of common stock under our stock repurchase program during the first three months of 2020 and 2019, respectively, at a cost of $466 million and $500 million, respectively. 

3.  Restricted Cash The "Cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash" line item on the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows  includes restricted cash of $88 million in 2019, reflecting deposits held by a third-party bond agent as collateral for certain debt obligations which matured on October 1, 2019. 

View original content:

SOURCE Norfolk Southern Corporation

Copyright (C) 2020 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

$ 214.20
+0.21 +0.10%
Volume: 385,019
Oct. 1, 2020 11:35a
P/E Ratio
Dividend Yield
Market Cap
$54.59 billion
Rev. per Employee
$ 214.20
+0.21 +0.10%
Volume: 385,019
Oct. 1, 2020 11:35a
P/E Ratio
Dividend Yield
Market Cap
$54.59 billion
Rev. per Employee

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.