Vitran reports 4Q net loss on lower revenue

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Vitran Corp. today, Feb. 10, announced year-end and quarterly financial results for the 12- and three-month periods ended Dec. 31.

For the year, Vitran achieved 8.3 percent revenue growth to $726.3 million, including a 4.5 percent increase in less-than-truckload and a 53.3 percent rise in logistics revenue. Net income was $4.6 million. In 2007, the company reported net income of $13.7 million on revenue of $670.5 million.

In the 2008 fourth quarter, Vitran reported revenue of $154.2 million, 11.5 percent below the $174.3 million achieved in the year-ago period. The company incurred a net loss of $3.2 million, including the impact of a write-off of previously capitalized syndication costs, compared to net income of $1.7 million.

“Although we are disappointed with the financial results, the fourth quarter of 2008 marked another period of significant achievements for Vitran in the face of an unmistakable retraction in the entire North American economy and transportation industry,” said Rick Gaetz, president and chief executive officer of Toronto-based Vitran. “We are very pleased to have completed the final steps of our U.S. LTL operating integration with the amalgamation of redundant work forces and facilities in the overlap legacy PJAX and Vitran Express operating regions.”

Gaetz said Vitran has taken the necessary steps to abate the economic downturn and position the company to weather the current economic storm. “We have improved our linehaul infrastructure, which has led to a reduction in miles and improvement in service, downsized our labour force and listed redundant facilities for sale,” he said. “Moreover, we have commenced an aggressive integrated inter-regional sales program, and, in the existing environment, management continues to be focused on cost reduction.”

Gaetz said the company’s logistics segment turned in “a rewarding fourth quarter and fiscal year” for 2008. “LVLA, our December 2007 logistics acquisition, performed on plan, and we remain optimistic about its long-term possibilities,” he said. The logistics segment added a new dedicated distribution facility for an existing client in California that will contribute to the company’s annual results, Gaetz said.