Norfolk Southern 4Q profit falls 29 percent, 2,000 jobs to be cut

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Norfolk Southern Corp.'s fourth-quarter profit slid 29 percent as the railroad delivered 6 percent less freight. It plans to cut 2,000 jobs, or 4 percent of its workforce, as it fends off a takeover bid from rival Canadian Pacific.

The Norfolk, Virginia, railroad said Wednesday it will cut about 1,200 jobs this year and the rest by 2020. It also plans to reduce overtime costs, eliminate about 1,500 miles of little-used track and improve efficiency by upgrading its locomotive fleet.

"We have the right team and the right plan to address the current headwinds and deliver superior value as we move through 2016 and beyond," said Jim Squires, who took over as Norfolk Southern's top executive last summer.

In the fourth quarter, the railroad reported net income of $361 million, or $1.20 per share. That's down from $511 million, or $1.64 per share, a year earlier.

The analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research expected earnings of $1.28 per share.

Fourth quarter revenue fell 12 percent to $2.52 billion. Analysts expected $2.59 billion.

Norfolk Southern said restructuring costs of $31 million weighed down fourth-quarter profit 10 cents per share.

The additional cuts it plans should save about $130 million in 2016 and create more than $650 million in annual cost savings by 2020, the railroad said.