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Norfolk Southern (NSC) Q4 Earnings & Revenues Top, Rise Y/Y

Norfolk Southern Corporation NSC reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter 2022 results, wherein both earnings and revenues surpassed the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Quarterly earnings of $3.42 per share edged past the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.41 per share and improved 9.62% year over year.

Railway operating revenues in the quarter under review came in at $3,237 million, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,177.2 million. The top line increased 13.5% year over year, with all key segments, including merchandise, intermodal and coal registering improvement in revenues. Revenue per unit rose 15% year over year, driven by higher fuel surcharges and pricing.

However, total volumes declined 1% year over year due to network challenges.
Income from railway operations climbed 5% year over year to $1,181 million.

Railway operating expenses shot up 19% on a year-over-year basis to $2,056 million, primarily due to higher fuel expenses and cost on purchased services. Norfolk Southern’s operating ratio (operating expenses as a percentage of revenues) deteriorated to 63.5% in the fourth quarter from 60.4% in the year-ago quarter due to higher costs.

In 2022, NSC paid dividends worth $1,167 million. In 2022, the railroad operator repurchased and retired 12.6 million of common stock at a cost of $3.1 billion.

The management announced a 9% increase in the quarterly dividend to $1.35 per share from $1.24. The new dividend is payable on Feb 21 to its shareholders of record on Feb 3.

Segmental Performance

Merchandise’s revenues climbed 12% year over year to $1,876 million. Volumes were flat while revenue per unit ascended 12% year over year.

Intermodal’s revenues augmented 10% year over year to $913 million. While segmental volumes decreased 4%, revenue per unit ascended 14%.

Coal’s revenues totaled $448 million, up 28% year over year. Coal volumes increased 8%. Revenue per unit jumped 19% in the reported quarter.


Norfolk Southern exited the fourth quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $456 million compared with $839 million at the end of 2021. NSC had a long-term debt of $14,479 million at the end of the December quarter compared with $13,287 million at 2021 end.

Currently, Norfolk Southern carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Q4 Results of Some Other Transportation Players: A Sneak Peek

Delta Air Lines’ DAL fourth-quarter 2022 earnings (excluding 19 cents from non-recurring items) of $1.48 per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.29 per share. DAL reported earnings of 22 cents per share a year ago, dull in comparison to the current scenario, as air-travel demand was not so buoyant then.

Delta reported revenues of $13,435 million, which also surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $13,030.3 million. Driven by the high air-travel demand, total revenues increased more than 41.87% on a year-over-year basis.

United Airlines UAL reported fourth-quarter 2022 earnings of $2.46 per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.07 per share. In the year-ago quarter, UAL had incurred a loss of $1.60 per share when air-travel demand was not as buoyant as in the current scenario.

Operating revenues of $12,400 million beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $12,230 million. UAL’s revenues increased 51.37% year over year due to upbeat air-travel demand.

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