Kansas City Southern maintains forecast on strong volumes

Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:22am EDT

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(Reuters) - Kansas City Southern's (KSU.N) quarterly profit was hit by a higher Mexican tax bill but the railroad company stood by its full-year outlook on the strength of its automotive and cross-border freight volumes.

Shares of the fourth-largest public U.S. railroad operator rose as much as 5 percent to $81.40 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Kansas City Southern maintained its full-year outlook for revenue and volume growth in the mid-single digits.

Revenue and volumes rose 6 and 7 percent for the third quarter ended September 30 and the company said volumes continued to increase in October.

Bigger rival Norfolk Southern Corp (NSC.N) said last month weaker shipments of coal and merchandise as well as lower fuel surcharge revenue would reduce its third-quarter earnings.

Kansas City Southern, however, is generally in a better position than most railroads as it gets a boost from cross-border trade. Automotive and energy volumes also helped offset the decline in grains volume.

The company's net income fell to $90 million, or 82 cents per share, in the third quarter, from $99.8 million, or 91 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 6 percent to $577 million.

Analysts had expected earnings of 84 cents per share on revenue of $578.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Missouri-based company gets almost half of its revenue from Mexico.

Tax expenses jumped 69 percent to $73.9 million as a 4 percent rise in the peso forced the company to book unrealized income under Mexican tax rules for its U.S. dollar-denominated debt.

Total volumes increased 7 percent during the quarter.

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Maju Samuel)

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