Vitran reports smaller 4Q net loss

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Vitran Corp. on Monday, Feb. 8, announced year-end and quarterly financial results for the 12 and three-month periods ended Dec. 31, 2009. For the year, Vitran achieved consolidated revenue of $629.3 million compared to $726.3 million. Vitran reported a net loss of $4.0 million compared to a net loss of $71.2 million. The 2008 net loss included a one-time noncash goodwill impairment charge of $107.4 million.

For the quarter, Vitran reported revenue of $165.0 million, 7.0 percent above the $154.2 million achieved in the year-ago period. The company incurred a net loss of $2.3 million compared to a net loss of $79.0 million. Excluding the impact of the goodwill impairment charge, fourth-quarter 2008 was a loss of $3.2 million.

“The fourth quarter of 2009 was the first quarter in several quarters where financial and operating metrics improved over the prior year,” said Rick Gaetz, president and chief executive officer of Toronto-based Vitran. “We are very pleased with the sales momentum in our U.S. LTL business unit, as our daily shipment count and daily tonnage exceeded the fourth quarter of 2008. Within our new amalgamated U.S. LTL business unit, our sales initiatives are working, as evidenced by the 22.5 percent increase in length of haul for the year. All these improvements were offset by the persistence of a poor pricing environment in the fourth quarter. Notwithstanding, we feel that our positive activity trends position our LTL segment for success when the pricing environment begins to change.”

Gaetz said the company’s Supply Chain Operation segment is growing and performing, and is becoming a significant contributor to Vitran’s overall business model. “The SCO segment turned in a record fourth quarter and fiscal year for 2009,” he said. “We continued to maximize our existing infrastructure, as well as added new customers and facilities to the U.S. infrastructure. We look forward to improved results in 2010.”

With the fourth-quarter improvements in the income from operations in Vitran’s LTL and Supply Chain segments, the company was able to reduce its total debt under $100 million, reducing its consolidated leverage ratio, resulting in a 50 basis point reduction on its syndicated debt margins for the first quarter of 2010, Gaetz said.