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Jax Daily Record Friday, May 3, 201910:23 AM EST

CSX Corp. CEO says company operating 'better than at any time in its history'

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At virtual shareholders meeting, James Foote says company is “producing very strong cash flows.”
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

CSX Corp.’s virtual shareholders meeting Friday morning was much shorter than the typical annual meeting for a major public company, at about 20 minutes.

Officials of the Jacksonville-based railroad gave brief prepared answers to questions submitted by stockholders and appeared to face no disagreement about the company’s strategy.

CEO James Foote, in his opening remarks, said CSX’s strategy since an overhaul of management two years ago is producing strong results.

“I can say that your company's operating better than at any time in its history,” he said.

Foote said the company is “producing very strong cash flows” that is allowing it to reinvest in opportunities to grow the business, “and return cash to you, the owners of CSX.”

CSX’s board of directors has declared three 2-cent increases in quarterly dividend payments in the past two years, raising it from 18 cents a share to 24 cents.

Foote thinks improved service from the railroad and CSX’s intermodal network will increase revenue for the company.

“We're gaining a larger share of the transportation (market) every day and hopefully that will continue,” he said.

One question from a shareholder that covered new ground asked about CSX’s police force, which provides safety and security at the company’s rail network that covers much of the eastern U.S.

Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Nathan Goldman said that CSX’s predecessor companies have had a police force since 1850, and the company needs the security force because of the vast range of its operations.

“Crimes against the railroad typically cover many jurisdictions,” he said.

CSX said it held a virtual shareholder meeting, providing access only online because it would allow more shareholders to participate and be less costly than renting out a large venue for an in-person event.

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