Santa Fe Profits Benefit From Belt Tightening

Santa Fe Southern Pacific said Wednesday that cost-cutting moves and the sale of property helped boost third-quarter earnings 10% from a year ago.

The Chicago-based transportation and natural resources firm reported profits of $151.4 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared to $137.4 million in the period last year. It said revenue was flat but earnings were higher because of a 3.4% decline in operating expenses and the disposal of some California real estate.

For the first nine months, Southern Pacific's profits were $332.2 million, down 14% from 1984. The company attributed the drop to weaker first-half results.

Oil, natural gas, minerals and pipeline operations showed improved sales and earnings, the company said, but the transportation group's operating income was down because of a reduction in rail traffic and lower freight rates.

Southern Pacific Transportation, the railway company that is being held in trust pending approval of a merger with Santa Fe, reported third-quarter operating income of $14.9 million, compared to $7.5 million last year.

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