January 26, 2005
This morning Norfolk Southern held its fourth quarter financial meeting for 2004 in New York. News 12 listened in on the conference call.
The first thing Norfolk Southern financial leaders talked about today was the Graniteville train crash. It appears this crash will cost the company money, but is not devastating them.
The first quarter of 2005 for the Virginia Company started off in South Carolina with the disastrous train crash and chemical spill. And it also started off Norfolk Southern’s meeting, covering profits for the last quarter of 2004.
“The most profound sorrow and apologies for this accident and the problems it’s caused for the people of Graniteville and beyond,” said David Goode, Norfolk Southern’s Chief Financial Officer.
The railroad estimates things like cleanup and check payments to victims will cost them between $30-$40 million this quarter. To date, 12 lawsuits have been filed against Norfolk Southern but many more are expected.
The company says its insurance will cover payouts to people who sue Norfolk Southern.
Company leaders said this morning they will spend as much time as needed in Graniteville restoring the town. And they’ll learn from mistakes.
“We’ll learn as a company from this accident and redouble our efforts to ensure the safety of our people at Norfolk Southern and throughout the areas we serve,” Goode said.
Also revealed today, Norfolk Southern made a net income on $264 million in 2004. That’s up sixteen percent from 2003. Railroad leaders said they do not expect as much growth in 2005.