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COMPETITION WATCH: Contrans says 09 ‘as difficult as any that we have ever encountered’

WOODSTOCK, Ont. -- Contrans reported its fourth quarter revenue was down $10.4 million compared to Q4 08 ...

WOODSTOCK, Ont. — Contrans reported its fourth quarter revenue was down $10.4 million compared to Q4 08 and its full year revenue was down about $115 million in what it dubbed a business year “as difficult as any that we have ever encountered.”

In its financial report, Contrans said it took strong actions to cope with economic challenges, including downsizing fleet sizes, laying off staff, reducing discretionary and capital spending and eliminating executive incentives.

“All of our employees were challenged to come up with new ways to cut costs and they responded with many innovative ideas,” said Contrans CEO Stan Dunford. “These prompt, decisive actions allowed Contrans’ 2009 profit margin, measured as a percentage of revenue, to remain within its relatively narrow band that has been maintained by Contrans since the early 1990s. This was an outstanding accomplishment.”

While Contrans’ year-over-year revenue and profit declined in 2009, the company says its revenues have experienced a continued upward trend in the latter part of the year. Dunford said the company will remain disciplined when it comes to pricing and will grow only when it makes sense to do so.

“Our goal is to be the best, not the biggest,” Dunford said. “However, we also expect that there will be plentiful opportunities to grow steadily, profitably and at a manageable pace.”

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