Kansas City Southern KSU
Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 04/19/2013

Operator: Greetings and welcome to the Kansas City Southern First Quarter 2013 Earnings Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

This presentation includes statements concerning potential future events involving the Company, which could materially differ from events that actually occur. The differences could be caused by a number of factors, including those factors identified in the Risk Factor section of the Company's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012, filed with the SEC. The Company is not obligated to update any forward-looking statements in this presentation to reflect future events or developments. All reconciliations to GAAP can be found on the KCS website at

It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, David Starling, President and Chief Executive Officer for Kansas City Southern. Mr. Starling, you may now begin.

David L. Starling - President and CEO: Thank you. Good morning and welcome to Kansas City Southern's first quarter earnings conference call. Joining me this morning on the call is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Dave Ebbrecht; Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Pat Ottensmeyer; and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Mike Upchurch; and also Jose Zozaya, our President and Executive Representative from Mexico is also on the call.

As always we have quite a bit to cover this morning. So, in the interest of time I'll get right to it. We usually don't lead-off our overview section with a refinancing bullet, but I think this time, it is worthy of an exception. Our changing investment grade status has been one of the primary corporate goals of KCS for a number of years. Certainly from the point, we had to refinance some debt in – or December of 2008 at 13%. With S&P's upgrade of KCS in March, KCS officially met the threshold it will be classified as an investment grade company. With Moody's upgrade this past Wednesday, KCSM is now rated investment grade by the three primary agencies S&P, Moody's and Fitch.

To come so far in a little over five years is an accomplishment, which we are quite proud of at KCS. Being a company which never rest on its laurels, we are quickly putting our investment grade status to work as we announced last week to access the debt market with the intention of further reducing interest expense, while also lengthening the maturity of our debt portfolio. Mike Upchurch will have more to say about that in his section.

KCS again enjoyed excellent growth in some of the most dynamic business section like crude oil, which saw revenue growth by 369%, cross-border intermodal, which grew by 71% and automotive revenues which climbed 31%. Unfortunately, the fantastic growth we experienced in those areas was partially offset by the impact of last year's historic drought on our grain business which was down 38%. The effects of the droughts somewhat mask, what in fact a good quarter for most of the rest of our business segments. If you take grain out of the equation, our reported consolidated volumes were up 4% and revenues were up 6%.

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