Western railway giant Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., based in Ft.Worth, TX, took a $42-million earnings hit in the fourth quarter of 2001 to cover employee layoffs – dropping its earnings down to 46 cents per diluted share, down from 57 cents per diluted share. Even without the earnings charge, BNSF was still well below its earnings level of 65 cents per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2000.
Total freight revenues for the fourth quarter of 2001 were $2.27 billion, 2% lower than revenues in the same period of 2000. However, BNSF had a 9% volume gain in its truckload business in the fourth quarter and generated $443 million of free cash flow, a 3% improvement over 2000. Operating income for the fourth quarter reached $472 million, excluding the layoff charge, down from $544 million in the same quarter in 2000.
For all of 2001, BNSF's earnings per share dropped to $1.87 from $2.36 per diluted share in 2000. Freight revenues for 2001 were $9.09 billion, a decrease of less than 1% compared with 2000. Operating income fell to $1.79 billion from $2.15 billion for 2000.