F I N A N C I A L R E V I E W
Personal Injury In 2000, the Railroad's work-related injuries that resulted in lost job time declined 20% compared to 1999. In addition, accidents at grade crossings decreased 10% compared to 1999. Annual expenses for the Railroad's personal injury-related events were $207 million in 2000, reflecting lower settlement costs, $228 million in 1999 and $311 million in 1998. Compensation for work-related accidents is governed by the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA). Under FELA, damages are assessed based on a finding of fault through litigation or out-of-court settlements. The Railroad offers a comprehensive variety of services and rehabilitation programs for employees who are injured at work.
Environmental Costs The Corporation generates and transports hazardous and nonhazardous waste in its current and former operations, and is subject to federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations. The Corporation has identified approximately 400 active sites at which it is or may be liable for remediation costs associated with alleged contamination or for violations of environmental requirements. This includes 46 sites that are the subject of actions taken by the U.S. government, 26 of which are currently on the Superfund National Priorities List. Certain federal legislation imposes joint and several liability for the remediation of identified sites; consequently, the Corporation's ultimate environmental liability may include costs relating to other parties, in addition to costs relating to its own activities at each site.
As of December 31, 2000, the Corporation has a liability of $177 million accrued for future environmental costs where its obligation is probable and where such costs can be reasonably estimated. However, the actual costs may differ from these estimates. The liability includes future costs for remediation and restoration of sites, as well as for ongoing monitoring costs, but excludes any anticipated recoveries from third parties. Cost estimates are based on information available for each site, financial viability of other potentially responsible parties, and existing technology, laws and regulations. The Corporation believes that it has adequately accrued for its ultimate share of costs at sites subject to joint and several liability. However, the ultimate liability for remediation is difficult to determine because of the number of potentially responsible parties involved, site-specific cost sharing arrangements with other potentially responsible parties, the degree of contamination by various wastes, the scarcity and quality of volumetric data related to many of the sites, and/or the speculative nature of remediation costs. The majority of the December 31, 2000 environmental liability is expected to be paid out over the next five years, funded by cash generated from operations.
Remediation of identified sites previously used in operations, used by tenants or contaminated by former owners required spending of $62 million in 2000, $56 million in 1999 and $58 million in 1998. The Corporation is also engaged in reducing emissions, spills and migration of hazardous materials, and spent $8 million, $5 million and $9 million in 2000, 1999 and 1998, respectively, for control and prevention. In 2001, the Corporation anticipates spending $65 million for remediation and $8 million for control and prevention. The impact of current obligations is not expected to have a material adverse effect on the results of operations or financial condition of the Corporation.
Rail Approximately 87% of the Railroad's nearly 50,000 employees are represented by rail unions. Under the conditions imposed by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in connection with the Southern Pacific acquisition, labor agreements between the Railroad and the unions had to be negotiated before the UPRR and Southern Pacific rail systems could be fully integrated. The Railroad has successfully reached agreements with the shopcraft, carmen, clerical, and maintenance-of-way unions, and also implemented "hub-and-spoke" agreements with the train operating crafts. Under the hub-and-spoke concept, all operating employees in a central "hub" are placed under a common set of collective bargaining agreements with the ability to work on the "spokes" running into and out of the hub. Negotiations under the Railway Labor Act to revise the national labor agreements for all crafts began in late 1999 and are still in progress.
Trucking Overnite continues to oppose the efforts of the Teamsters to unionize Overnite service centers. Since the Teamsters began their efforts at Overnite in 1994, Overnite has received 90 petitions for union elections at 67 of its 166 service centers, although there have been only nine elections since August 1997, and Teamsters representation was rejected in seven of those nine elections. Twenty-two service centers, representing approximately 14% of Overnite's 13,000 nationwide employee work force, have voted for union representation, and the Teamsters have been certified and recognized as the bargaining representative for such employees. Fifteen of these 22 locations filed decertification petitions in 1999 and 2000. Elections affecting approximately 400 additional employees are unresolved, and there are no elections currently scheduled. Additionally, proceedings are pending in certain cases where a Teamsters' local union lost a representation election. To date, Overnite has not entered into any collective bargaining agreements with the Teamsters, who began a job action on October 24, 1999 that has continued into 2001. As of January 31, 2001, 30 Overnite service centers had approximately 495 employees, less than 5% of Overnite's work force, who did not report to work. Despite the work stoppage, Overnite has managed to improve its service, revenue and profitability on a year-over-year basis.
Inflation The cumulative effect of long periods of inflation has significantly increased asset replacement costs for capital-intensive companies such as the Railroad and Overnite. As a result, depreciation charges on an inflation-adjusted basis, assuming that all operating assets are replaced at current price levels, would be substantially greater than historically reported amounts.
Derivative Financial Instruments The Corporation and its subsidiaries use derivative financial instruments, which are subject to market risk, in limited instances for purposes other than trading to manage risk related to changes in fuel prices and interest rates. The Corporation uses swaps, futures and/or forward contracts to mitigate the downside financial risk of adverse price and rate movements and hedge the exposure to variable cash flows. The sensitivity analyses that follow illustrate the economic effect that hypothetical changes in interest rates or fuel prices could have on the Corporation's financial instruments. These hypothetical changes do not consider other factors that could impact actual results.
Interest Rates The Corporation manages its overall exposure to fluctuations in interest rates by adjusting the proportion of fixed- and floating-rate debt instruments within its debt portfolio over a given period. The mix of fixed- and floating-rate debt is largely managed through the issuance of targeted amounts of each as debt matures or incremental borrowings are required. Derivatives may be used in limited circumstances as one of the tools to obtain the targeted mix and hedge the exposure to variable fair value changes. In addition, the Corporation obtains flexibility in managing interest costs and the interest rate mix within its debt portfolio by issuing callable fixed-rate debt securities.
At December 31, 2000, the Corporation has variable-rate debt representing approximately 6% of its total debt. If interest rates average 10% higher in 2001 than the December 31, 2000 rate, the Corporation's interest expense would increase by less than $5 million after tax. This amount is determined by considering the impact of the hypothetical interest rates on the balances of the Corporation's variable-rate debt at December 31, 2000. At December 31, 2000, the Corporation has not entered into any interest rate swaps.
Market risk for fixed-rate debt is estimated as the potential increase in fair value resulting from a hypothetical 10% decrease in interest rates as of December 31, 2000, and amounts to approximately $307 million at December 31, 2000. The fair values of the Corporation's fixed-rate debt were estimated by considering the impact of the hypothetical interest rates on quoted market prices and current borrowing rates.
Fuel Fuel costs are a significant portion of the Corporation's total operating expenses. As a result of the significance of fuel costs and the historical volatility of fuel prices, the Corporation's transportation subsidiaries periodically use swaps, futures and/or forward contracts to mitigate the impact of adverse fuel price changes. However, the use of these instruments also limits future gains from favorable movements.
As of December 31, 2000, the Corporation had hedged approximately 8% of its forecasted 2001 fuel consumption. If fuel prices decrease 10% from the December 31, 2000 level, the corresponding decrease in the value of the Corporation's fuel hedging contracts would be approximately $5 million after tax.
Commitments and Contingencies There are various claims and lawsuits pending against the Corporation and certain of its subsidiaries. The Corporation is also subject to various federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations, pursuant to which it is currently participating in the investigation and remediation of various sites. A discussion of certain claims, lawsuits, contingent liabilities and guarantees is set forth in note 12 to the consolidated financial statements.
Accounting Pronouncements In June 1998, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Statement No. 133, "Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities" (FAS 133), that would have been effective January 1, 2000. In June 1999, the FASB issued Statement No. 137, "Accounting for Derivatives Instruments and Hedging Activities-Deferral of the Effective Date of FASB Statement No. 133" postponing the effective date for implementing FAS 133 to fiscal years beginning after June 15, 2000. In June 2000, the FASB issued Statement No. 138, "Accounting for Certain Derivative Instruments and Certain Hedging Activities" (FAS 138). FAS 138 addresses certain issues related to the implementation of FAS 133, but does not change the basic model of FAS 133 or further delay the implementation of FAS 133. Management has determined that FAS 133 and FAS 138 will increase the volatility of the Corporation's asset, liability and equity (comprehensive income) positions as the change in the fair value of all financial instruments the Corporation uses for fuel or interest rate hedging purposes will, upon adoption of FAS 133 and FAS 138, be recorded in the Corporation's consolidated statements of financial position (see note 4 to the consolidated financial statements). In addition, to the extent fuel hedges are ineffective due to pricing differentials resulting from the geographic dispersion of the Corporation's operations, income statement recognition of the ineffective portion of the hedge position will be required. On January 1, 2001, the Corporation adopted the provisions of FAS 133 and FAS 138. This adoption resulted in the recognition of a $2 million asset on January 1, 2001.
In September 2000, the FASB issued Statement No. 140, "Accounting for Transfers and Servicing of Financial Assets and Extinguishments of Liabilities" (FAS 140), replacing Statement No. 125, "Accounting for Transfers and Servicing of Financial Assets and Extinguishments of Liabilities" (FAS 125). FAS 140 revises criteria for accounting for securitizations, other financial asset transfers and collateral, and introduces new disclosures. FAS 140 is effective for fiscal 2000 with respect to the new disclosure requirements and amendments of the collateral provisions originally presented in FAS 125. All other provisions are effective for transfers of financial assets and extinguishments of liabilities occurring after March 31, 2001. The provisions are to be applied prospectively with certain exceptions. Management is currently assessing the financial impact that FAS 140 will have on the Corporation's consolidated financial statements.
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