Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman, addressing the company’s annual meeting today in Williamsburg, Va., gave stockholders plenty of reasons for continued optimism following a year of record-breaking performance.
“Clearly, 2013 was a big year for us,” Moorman said in ticking off records in railway operating revenue, operating income, earnings per share, and operating ratio, the latter a key measure of performance efficiency.
As for 2014, Moorman said, “We came into the new year believing that most of the strength that we saw in our markets in 2013, and particularly in the second half, would continue, and we still feel that way.” What wasn’t foreseen, he noted, was the most severe winter in years, which adversely affected first-quarter revenues, expenses, and service.
“However, I’m happy to report that the Norfolk Southern operating team came through with flying colors. The result is that today our operating metrics are much improved, and we are steadily progressing to the high service levels we and our customers enjoyed last year.”
Moorman said, “Once the cold weather departed, we saw our business rebound almost immediately,” led by intermodal and energy-related markets, with the auto business also gaining strength. “I’m confident that 2014 will be another very good year for our company,” he said.
“The real key to our future and the reason for my confidence is our people. I strongly believe we have the best people in the railroad business, and we’re working hard every day to make sure that we capture all of their good ideas on how we can make NS better,” Moorman said.
In official business, stockholders re-elected 13 directors for terms expiring in 2015: Thomas D. Bell Jr., chairman of Mesa Capital Partners; Erskine B. Bowles, senior advisor to BDT Capital Partners LLC and Carousel Capital; Robert A. Bradway, chairman and chief executive officer of Amgen Inc.; Wesley G. Bush, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Northrop Grumman Corporation; Daniel A. Carp, chairman of Delta Air Lines Inc.; Karen N. Horn, a partner with Brock Capital Group; Steven F. Leer, senior adviser to the president and CEO of Arch Coal Inc.; Michael D. Lockhart, retired chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Armstrong World Industries Inc.; Amy E. Miles, chief executive officer of Regal Entertainment Group; Moorman; Martin H. Nesbitt, co-founder of The Vistria Group; James A. Squires, president of Norfolk Southern Corporation; and John R. Thompson, government relations consultant for Best Buy Co. Inc.
Stockholders ratified appointment of KPMG LLP as auditors and approved an advisory resolution on the compensation of executive officers. The stockholder proposal recommending an independent chair of the board of directors was not presented at the meeting, so no action was taken on the proposal.
Moorman's remarks to stockholders and a new video are posted in the Investor Relations section of the NS website.
Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway Company subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal, automotive, and industrial products.
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