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CSX Corp. yesterday reported double-digit growth in operating income, net earnings and earnings per share for first-quarter 2015. Net income rose 11 percent to $442 million, or 45 cents per share, from $398 million, or 40 cents per share, a year ago.Revenue remained the same at about $3.03 billion compared with last year, driven by growth across the Class I's markets and an improved pricing environment partially offset by the impact of low natural gas prices, lower fuel recoveries and a strong U.S. dollar. At the same time, lower fuel prices and cost-saving measures offset higher inflation and volume-related costs, resulting in a 14 percent increase in operating income of $843 million, CSX officials said in a news release.The company's operating ratio rose 330 basis points to 72.2 percent."In this dynamic economic and business environment, CSX's core earnings remain strong and we are continuing our drive to provide excellent service for our customers and value for our shareholders," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Ward. "Our commitment and confidence in CSX's future is underscored by the positive shareholder actions we're taking today."CSX also announced its board approved a 13 percent increase in the quarterly dividend, as well as a new, $2 billion share repurchase program that is expected to be completed over the next 24 months. Since 2006, the company has repurchased nearly $9 billion in shares.
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