NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. railroad operator CSX Corp CSX.N announced on Wednesday a 3-for-1 stock split, a 38 percent quarterly dividend increase and a $2 billion share repurchase program.
The quarterly dividend was raised to 36 cents, or 12 cents per share on a post-split basis. It is payable on June 15 for holders as of the May 31 close.
The share buyback program is expected to be completed by the end of 2012. The split will be for holders as of the May 31 close.
The company in April beat first-quarter profit forecasts as shipments in all of its major markets grew, and said it expects 2011 volume to expand more than U.S. gross domestic product and industrial production.
Its first-quarter volume rose 7 percent despite a series of harsh winter storms and rising fuel costs.
Jacksonville, Florida-based CSX sees more goods shipments moving to more fuel-efficient rails with fuel costs high and truck capacity constrained.
The company, the second largest publicly held U.S. railroad, is also forecasting it will transport 40 million tons of coal for export after having shipped a quarterly record 11 million tons in the first three months of the year.
The prior annual record of 30 million export coal tons was set last year.
From the start of 2006 to the end of 2010, CSX said it invested $8.3 billion in its business operations, raised its dividend by 300 percent and repurchased $5.6 billion in shares.
CSX shares were off 0.6 percent in midmorning trade at $77.47 and are up about 21 percent so far this year. The year-to-date gain is more than triple the rise in the Dow Jones Transportation Average .DJT.
Reporting by Lynn Adler, editing by Dave Zimmerman