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March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- CSX (NYSE: CSX) is in the midst of an "exciting and transformative time," leveraging the most diverse portfolio in company history, wrote
Michael Ward, CSX chairman, president and chief executive officer, in the company's 2013 Annual Report delivered this past week.
"The CSX you see today has overcome a challenging macroeconomic environment while transforming itself to leverage the growth opportunities that exist in nearly all of its businesses," Ward wrote. "Today, CSX is a vibrant, healthy company that is meeting an essential need for the country and driving service excellence for our customers while investing in our infrastructure, employees and the communities that we serve."
A combination of macro forces and strategic investments propelled CSX to strong performance despite the challenging external environment, including the slowly recovering economy and transformation in the energy markets. The company now enjoys the most diverse portfolio in its history, as growth in the merchandise and intermodal businesses help to offset declining coal revenue.
The company's Annual Report outlines actions to further capitalize on growth opportunities and meet strategic challenges, including:
Investing to support changes in energy markets, which are creating new opportunities for job growth, manufacturing resurgence and energy independence;
Ongoing investment in double-stack intermodal capabilities through the National Gateway and new or expanded regional terminals;
Continued pursuit of record customer satisfaction through improved communication and collaboration;
Consistently strong safety performance, building on CSX's performance as the nation's safest Class I railroad in 2013, with the fewest accidents and injuries; and
Focus on improving the company's environmental footprint, increasing sustainable development activities and amplifying engagement with local communities.
CSX continues to place a high priority on investing in critically needed transportation infrastructure while rewarding investors through dividends and share repurchases. In 2013, the company invested
$2.3 billion in the network and will invest another
$2.3 billion in 2014 to support long-term value creation for shareholders. The company is also focused on returning value to shareholders in the near term. In 2013, CSX paid dividends of
59 cents per share, up nine percent from the year before, and announced a new
$1 billion share buyback program.
These value-creating activities build on a sustained track record of delivering shareholder returns. Over the past decade, CSX increased operating income by nearly 600 percent and improved operating ratio by more than 2,200 basis points, while driving growth in earnings per share from continuing operations of nearly 2,000 percent. As a result, CSX shareholders have seen a total return on their investment of nearly 500 percent, easily outpacing the broader market.