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COMPETITION WATCH: Vitran Corp. shows big improvement in first quarter

TORONTO, Ont. Vitran Corporation Inc. reports significant improvement in its first quarter financial performance ...

TORONTO, Ont. Vitran Corporation Inc. reports significant improvement in its first quarter financial performance compared to the previous year.

For the 2005 first quarter, the Company achieved net income of $2.8 million, or 0.22 per diluted share, on revenue of $93.9 million. In the comparable 2004 quarter, Vitran recorded net income of $1.6 million, or $0.13 per diluted share on revenue of $87.1 million. The prior year’s first quarter results were adversely impacted by a CN Railway strike.

“The first quarter of 2005 marked Vitran’s 14th straight quarter of year-over-year earnings growth, and we are pleased with the consistently improving results we have achieved over the past 3 years,” stated Vitran president and CEO Rick Gaetz. “In addition to the 67% net income growth Vitran has delivered, we remain focused on making acquisitions that will further expand our U.S. footprint beyond the Central States.”

Income from operations at Vitran’s LTL (less-than-truckload) segment rose 61 percent during the 2005 first quarter to $3.3 million, with revenue growing at both the Canadian and U.S. business units. This resulted in a 140 basis point improvement in the segment’s consolidated OR (operating ratio), compared to the 2004 first quarter. The U.S. LTL operation increased shipments and revenue per hundred-weight in the current quarter. The Canadian LTL operation, which was impacted by the CN Railway strike in the prior year, recorded improvements in revenue and income from operations compared to the 2004 first quarter. The Canadian LTL operation recorded double-digit growth in both revenue per shipment and revenue per hundred-weight during the three-month period.

Vitran’s Truckload segment grew income from operations by 66 percent during the quarter, and lowered its OR to 91.7. The Logistics segment achieved nine percent higher revenue, and an eight percent increase in operating income on a flat, 95.9 OR during the first quarter. The Logistics segment continues to make progress towards filling the capacity at its new distribution facility.

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