Union Pacific Corp.'s (UNP) second-quarter profit jumped 10% as the U.S. railroad company posted a double-digit increase in freight revenue across all product categories, again offsetting higher fuel costs.
The company has said it expects freight volume will continue to increase in the second half of the year, growth that would build on a sharp jump last year when the transportation industry began to see a turnaround. In a sign of strength, Union Pacific also boosted its quarterly dividend by 25%, as the company noted it was generating record free cash flow.
Union Pacific has reported broad volume growth for five consecutive quarters, with particular strong growth in shipments of chemicals and industrial products.
Union Pacific reported a profit of $785 million, or $1.59 a share, up from $711 million, or $1.40 a share, a year earlier. Union Pacific said flood-related issues increased operating expenses by 2 cents a share and resulted in missed coal revenue of about $20 million, or 2 cents.
Revenue jumped 16% to $4.86 billion.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of $1.58 per share on revenue of $4.74 billion.
Operating margin narrowed to 28.7% from 30.6%.
Freight revenue climbed across all categories, with energy--the largest contributor--reporting a 14% jump. Revenue per carload climbed 3%, but the average fuel price per gallon was up 44% to an average of $3.29.
On Tuesday, peer CSX Corp. (CSX) posted a 22% increase in second-quarter profit as overall volume jumped, led by its intermodal, forest-products and food-and-consumer segments.
Union Pacific's shares closed Wednesday at $99.83 and were inactive premarket.
-By John Kell, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2480; firstname.lastname@example.org