CSX will face strong utility coal headwinds into 2013, Sterne Agee says. Progressive Railroading

Posted: September 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

September 10, 2012

Sterne Agee analyst Jeff Kauffman has lowered his earnings per share (EPS) estimates for CSX Corp. because he expects domestic coal headwinds to remain a challenge for some time. Kauffman decreased his 2012 EPS estimate by 4 cents and 2013 estimate by 6 cents to $1.87 and $2.14, respectively, in a report issued Sept. 7.

Southeastern coal stockpiles might not recover until 2013, he said in the report.

“CSX will be challenged through [next] spring because of a larger southeastern U.S. exposure to unity coal stockpiles, overshadowing some fundamental improvements for the next two quarters,” Kauffman wrote.

Export coal volume was up 24 percent through 2012’s 34th week, but volume is expected to moderate through the balance of the third quarter and the entire fourth quarter as global demand weakens, he said. CSX previously provided guidance of 40 million tons of export coal for 2012 and believed capacity would total 50 million tons at its five terminals. But capacity is closer to 60 million tons because of capital investments and improved processes, Kauffman wrote.

“The company initiative of a 65 percent operating ratio by 2015 is dependent on coal volumes improving,” he said. “A cold winter may be the best near-term indicator of the company’s progress towards achieving a 65 percent ratio.”



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