COMPETITION WATCH: Contrans CEO confident, despite dip in profits

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WOODSTOCK, Ont. — Contrans saw its fourth quarter earnings drop to $4.6 million in 2010, down from $5.2 million for the same period in 2009.

Its full year earnings were $17.6 million in 2010, down from $23 million in 2009. However, Contrans chairman and CEO Stan Dunford said he has “never felt more confident in Contrans’ future than I do now.”

“The company’s balance sheet is as strong as it has ever been and the company is positioned to capitalize on growth opportunities,” he added.

Dunford said the company enjoys a strong cash position that’s “the envy of our industry.”

He also said the company’s entry into the waste collection business in 2010 has boosted profitability and made the company more recession-proof in the future.

Transportation revenue was up in 2010, thanks to increased shipping activity, especially in the construction and steel industries, Contrans reported. Unprofitable lanes in the company’s van operations were rationalized and the company-owned tractor fleet was downsized, resulting in better equipment utilization, according to the company.

Operating margins in 2010 benefited from a “slight easing of pricing pressures,” but accident costs rose $1.1 million in 2010.

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