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COMPETITION WATCH: Q4 slowdown not enough to derail profitable 08 for Contrans

WOODSTOCK, Ont. -- Contrans Income Fund has wrapped up what its chairman and CEO Stan Dunford referred to as &...

WOODSTOCK, Ont. — Contrans Income Fund has wrapped up what its chairman and CEO Stan Dunford referred to as “its best financial performance ever, given the bleak and deteriorating business environment in which it operated throughout the year.”


The company concluded 2008 with net earnings of $29.5 million, up from $26.2 million in 2007. Not surprisingly, net earnings slid in the fourth quarter to $3 million compared to $7.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2007, the company reported.


Despite the solid performance in 08, the company admitted it has been impacted by the recession. Freight shipments in Contrans’ van operations were down, with the segment generating $21.6 million less revenue in 2008 than in 07. Part of the decline was due to the closure of a major customer, the company reported.


Contrans management said it has rationalized unprofitable traffic lanes and realigned some of its operations in response. US-bound traffic is also down, but Contrans says it has focused on making up the business in other segments. Looking ahead, Dunford said the economy will continue to pose challenges.


“The current recession is global in scale and is affecting every aspect of the North American economy,” added Dunford. “In spite of Contrans’ diverse customer base, service offerings and geographic spheres of operations, it is not immune to the effects of this recession. Management’s top priority will be a continued focus on maintaining the financial strength of Contrans particularly if the current recession becomes even more severe or prolonged. Management will remain aggressive in the marketplace, will remain focused on operating efficiencies and will continue to scrutinize all discretionary disbursements.”


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