FORT WORTH, Texas (AP)
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., the nation’s second largest operator, on Tuesday said third-quarter profit rose 18 percent on the strength of higher coal, agriculture and intermodal volumes, as well as a boost from fuel surcharges. Quarterly earnings increased to $488 million, or $1.33 per share, from $414 million, or $1.09 per share during the same period last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial forecast earnings of $1.30 per share. Revenue grew 19 percent to $3.94 billion from $3.32 billion during the same period a year ago. Analysts forecast revenue of $3.86 billion. Its shares fell 83 cents to $78.17 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The company said the improved results came from a 10 percent jump in coal volumes and an 8 percent gain in intermodal, a fast-growing segment where goods are hauled between modes of transportation. Agricultural product volume also rose 8 percent. Results included a $500 million boost from fuel surcharges. In the year-ago quarter, the company reported a lift of $300 million. Fuel expenses partially offset the current quarter’s gain by $293 million. Burlington Northern is second only to Union Pacific Corp. in the U.S. railroad business.