Jan 24 (Reuters) - Regional railroad operator Kansas City Southern missed fourth-quarter profit estimates on Friday amid weakness in its energy business, including lower coal shipments, sending its shares down more than 20 percent in early trading.
The decline in its energy operations overshadowed strength in its intermodal, agriculture and automotive businesses.
Kansas City, which operates in the Midwestern part of United States and in Mexico, earned $114 million, or $1.03 a share, in the fourth quarter through Dec. 31, compared with $93 million, or 83 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts, on average, expected it to earn $1.10 a share on revenue of $618 million.
Shares of the company were down 19 percent at $95.40 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, after earlier falling as low as $92.50.
The company’s quarterly revenue grew 8.3 percent to $615.6 million, as it continued a focus in recent years on cross-border traffic.
Still, total revenue from energy shipments fell 17 percent in the quarter, led by a drop in utility coal shipments.
Excluding debt retirement costs and the impact of foreign exchange rate fluctuations, adjusted diluted earnings per share in the quarter were $1.03, compared with 92 cents in 2012.
Kansas City runs north to south, while most other railroads run east to west. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Chicago; Editing by Bernadette Baum)