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CP demonstrates resiliency of model and team; reports record fourth quarter and full year 2020 results

Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (TSX: CP) (NYSE: CP) today announced its fourth-quarter results, including revenues of $2.01 billion, a record-low operating ratio (“OR”) of 53.9 percent, diluted earnings per share (“EPS”) of $5.95 and record adjusted diluted EPS of $5.06.

Fourth-quarter 2020 highlights

  • Revenues decreased 3 percent to $2.01 billion, from $2.07 billion in Q4 2019
  • OR improved by 310 basis points (bps) to 53.9 percent 
  • Diluted EPS improved 23 percent to $5.95, from $4.82 in Q4 2019, while adjusted diluted EPS rose 6 percent to record $5.06, from $4.77 in Q4 2019
“With a foundation of strong operational performance and a commitment to controlling what we can, the team continues to deliver,” said Keith Creel, CP President and CEO. “Despite the continued COVID-19 impacts, volumes steadily improved over the second half of 2020 and we saw revenue ton mile (“RTM”) growth in the fourth quarter.”

Full-year 2020 highlights

  • Federal Railroad Administration ("FRA")-reportable personal injuries declined 22 percent to a record-low 1.11 from 1.42 in 2019, and CP’s FRA-reportable train accident frequency decreased 9 percent versus 2019 to a record-low 0.96 from 1.06
  • Revenues decreased 1 percent to $7.71 billion, from $7.79 billion in 2019
  • OR improved to a record-low 57.1 percent, a 280 bps improvement year over year
  • Diluted EPS increased 3 percent to a record $17.97 from $17.52, while adjusted diluted EPS rose 7.5 percent to a record $17.67, from $16.44 in 2019
“I’m proud to say that our 2020 full-year results, including from a safety perspective, exceeded our expectations, in what has been one of the most challenging years any of us have faced,” said Creel. “I’m continually impressed by the resiliency of the CP family, particularly those who provide an essential service to North Americans day in and day out, no matter the challenges. The 12,000-strong CP family responded to extraordinary circumstances in 2020 with grit and courage, ensuring that our railway was able to serve our customers, shareholders and communities.”

Full-year 2021 guidance

  • Double-digit adjusted diluted EPS growth relative to 2020’s adjusted diluted EPS of $17.67
  • High single-digit volume growth, as measured in RTMs
  • Capital expenditures of $1.55 billion

CP’s guidance is based on the following key assumptions:
  • Effective tax rate of 24.6 percent
  • Other components of net periodic benefit recovery will increase by approximately $40 million versus 2020
"The uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically disrupted global supply chains," said Creel. "By leveraging our unique growth opportunities and applying our precision scheduled railroading operating model, CP is continuing to lead the industry. The momentum we've created in the fourth quarter will continue into 2021."

CP will discuss its results with the financial community in a conference call beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET (2:30 p.m. MT) on Jan. 27, 2021.

Conference Call Access

Toronto participants dial in number: 1-647-427-7450  
Operator assisted toll free dial in number: 1-888-231-8191  
Callers should dial in 10 minutes prior to the call.  


We encourage you to access the webcast and presentation material in the Investors section of CP's website at

A replay of the fourth-quarter conference call will be available by phone through to Feb. 3, 2021 at 416-849-0833 or toll free 1-855-859-2056, password 6346098.

Non-GAAP Measures

Although CP has provided a forward-looking non-GAAP measure (adjusted diluted EPS), management is unable to reconcile, without unreasonable efforts, the forward-looking adjusted diluted EPS to the most comparable GAAP measure (diluted EPS), due to unknown variables and uncertainty related to future results. These unknown variables may include unpredictable transactions of significant value. In recent years, CP has recognized changes in income tax rates and a change to an uncertain tax item. These or other similar, large unforeseen transactions affect diluted EPS but may be excluded from CP's adjusted diluted EPS. Additionally, the U.S.-to-Canadian dollar foreign exchange (FX) rate is unpredictable and can have a significant impact on CP's reported results but may be excluded from CP's adjusted diluted EPS. In particular, CP excludes the FX impact of translating the Company's debt and lease liabilities from adjusted diluted EPS. Please see Note on forward-looking information below for further discussion.

For information regarding non-GAAP measures, including reconciliations to the nearest GAAP measures, see the attached supplementary schedule Non-GAAP Measures.

Note on forward-looking information

This news release contains certain forward-looking information and forward-looking statements (collectively, "forward-looking information") within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to, statements concerning expectations, beliefs, plans, goals, objectives, assumptions and statements about possible future events, conditions, and results of operations or performance. Forward-looking information may contain statements with words or headings such as "financial expectations", "key assumptions", "anticipate", "believe", "expect", "plan", "will", "outlook", "should" or similar words suggesting future outcomes. This news release contains forward-looking information relating, but not limited to, statements concerning 2021 volume including as measured in RTMs, EPS growth and adjusted diluted EPS growth, capital program investments, the U.S.-to-Canadian dollar exchange rate, annualized effective tax rate, other components of net periodic benefit recovery, cost control efforts, the success of our business, our operations, priorities and plans, anticipated financial and operational performance, business prospects, demand for our services and growth opportunities.

The forward-looking information contained in this news release is based on current expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions, having regard to CP's experience and its perception of historical trends, and includes, but is not limited to, expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions relating to: North American and global economic growth; commodity demand growth; sustainable industrial and agricultural production; commodity prices and interest rates; foreign exchange rates (as specified herein); effective tax rates (as specified herein); performance of our assets and equipment; sufficiency of our budgeted capital expenditures in carrying out our business plan; geopolitical conditions, applicable laws, regulations and government policies; the availability and cost of labour, services and infrastructure; the satisfaction by third parties of their obligations to CP; our ability to realize upon business plans including cost control efforts; and the continued impact of the novel strain of coronavirus (and the disease known as COVID-19) on CP’s businesses, operating results, cash flows and/or financial condition. Although management of CP believes the expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions reflected in the forward-looking information presented herein are reasonable as of the date hereof, there can be no assurance that they will prove to be correct. Current conditions, economic and otherwise, render assumptions, although reasonable when made, subject to greater uncertainty.

Undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking information as actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by forward-looking information. By its nature, CP's forward-looking information involves inherent risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward looking information, including, but not limited to, the following factors: changes in business strategies; general North American and global economic, credit and business conditions; risks associated with agricultural production, such as weather conditions and insect populations; the availability and price of energy commodities; the effects of competition and pricing pressures; industry capacity; shifts in market demand; changes in commodity prices; uncertainty surrounding timing and volumes of commodities being shipped via CP; inflation; geopolitical instability; changes in laws, regulations and government policies, including regulation of rates; changes in taxes and tax rates; potential increases in maintenance and operating costs; changes in fuel prices; uncertainties of investigations, proceedings or other types of claims and litigation; labour disputes; risks and liabilities arising from derailments; transportation of dangerous goods; timing of completion of capital and maintenance projects; currency and interest rate fluctuations; effects of changes in market conditions and discount rates on the financial position of pension plans and investments; trade restrictions or other changes to international trade arrangements; climate change; various events that could disrupt operations, including severe weather, such as droughts, floods, avalanches and earthquakes, and cybersecurity attacks, as well as security threats and governmental response to them, and technological changes; and the pandemic created by the outbreak of COVID-19 and resulting effects on economic conditions, the demand environment for logistics requirements and energy prices, restrictions imposed by public health authorities or governments, fiscal and monetary policy responses by governments and financial institutions, and disruptions to global supply chains. The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. These and other factors are detailed from time to time in reports filed by CP with securities regulators in Canada and the United States. Reference should be made to "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Forward-Looking Statements" in CP's annual and interim reports on Form 10-K and 10-Q.

The forward-looking information contained in this news release is made as of the date hereof. Except as required by law, CP undertakes no obligation to update publicly or otherwise revise any forward-looking information, or the foregoing assumptions and risks affecting such forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

About Canadian Pacific

Canadian Pacific is a transcontinental railway in Canada and the United States with direct links to major ports on the west and east coasts. CP provides North American customers a competitive rail service with access to key markets in every corner of the globe. CP is growing with its customers, offering a suite of freight transportation services, logistics solutions and supply chain expertise. Visit to see the rail advantages of CP. CP-IR



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Chris De Bruyn
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