Norfolk Southern cautions feds about coronavirus risks

The coronavirus pandemic could impact the financial results of Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC), although the magnitude of COVID-19’s effects on the railroad’s operations remains to be seen, the railroad said in a Thursday filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Norfolk Southern (NS) said it didn’t take into account the pandemic when it issued its guidance for 2020 during its fourth-quarter 2019 earnings call in late January. NS will update SEC on the pandemic’s associated risks after it releases its first-quarter results on April 29.

NS follows its competitor CSX (NASDAQ: CSX) as well as Union Pacific (NYSE: UNPin alerting the SEC about the pandemic’s potential impact on operations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly developing and generating significant uncertainty in the economy, and it could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition, dependent on numerous risks and uncertainties.” NS said.

The railroad continued, “The magnitude and duration of the outbreak, its impact on our supply chain partners and general economic conditions, and the extent of social distancing measures and non-essential business shutdowns will influence the demand for our services and affect our revenues. In addition, COVID-19 could affect our operations and business continuity if a significant number of our essential employees, overall or in a key location, are quarantined from contraction of or exposure to the disease or if governmental orders prevent our operating employees or critical suppliers from working.”

A Norfolk Southern train. Image: Flickr/formulanone

Story by Joanna Marsh for freightwaves.com

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