Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is the largest shareholder in Montreal-based Canadian National Railway, according to disclosures released ahead of the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday.

The world's second-richest man owned or control 10.04 per cent of its shares, worth $3.2 billion as of Feb. 25.

That’s based on CN’s closing share price of $70.16 Monday.

Gates has been building a position in Canada's largest rail company since 2006.

A company proxy circular says he holds the 46.07 million shares through Cascade Investment and as co-trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust.

"The only person who beneficially owns, or exercises control or direction over, directly or indirectly, shares carrying 10 per cent or more of the voting rights attached to any class of shares of the company is Mr. William H. Gates III," the circular said.

CN's market capitalization for its 458.6 million shares was $32 billion.

Gates' friend Warren Buffett, through his holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc., acquired full control of U.S. rail company Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. early last year.

CN releases its first-quarter financial results Tuesday. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect its adjusted earnings will increase to 88 cents per share on $2.1 billion in revenues.