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April 12, 2007 8:50 AM, EDT

Exec Downplays Rail Takeovers

Norfolk Southern Corp. Chief Executive Officer Charles “Wick” Moorman told the Surface Transportation Board that buyout firms probably will not try to acquire major U.S. railroads because of opposition by rail management, Bloomberg reported.

He said that given railroads’ structure, there are not many hostile takeover attempts, Bloomberg reported late Wednesday.

Railroads' rising profits and ability to boost rates because of strong demand for freight hauling have increased speculation about buyouts, Bloomberg said.

The Standard & Poor’s rail index, which includes NS and rival rail lines Union Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe and CSX — has more than doubled in the five years through 2006, Bloomberg said.

Charles “Chip” Nottingham, chairman of the STB, a federal agency, said he welcomes more investment in railroads and has not heard from buyout firms about investing in the major freight railroads, Bloomberg reported.