UPDATE 2-Vitran Q4 loss narrows, shares jump

Mon Feb 8, 2010 3:09pm EST

* Q4 loss/shr $0.14 vs loss/shr $5.85 yr ago

* Rev rises 7 pct

* Sees 2010 cash capex of $10 mln-$15 mln

* Shares up as much as 11 pct (Recasts; Adds details, conference call comments, updates share movement)

Feb 8 (Reuters) - Canadian transportation company Vitran Corp VTN.TO posted a narrower fourth-quarter loss, helped by reduced loss from operations at its less-than-truckload segment, sending its shares up as much as 11 percent.

Vitran anticipates cash capital expenditures for 2010 to be between $10 million and $15 million, Chief Executive Richard Gaetz said on a conference call. The company's capital expenditure for 2009 was $5 million.

The company sees operating ratio -- an efficiency measure which compares net sales and operating expense -- for its less-than-truckload (LTL) segment improving sequentially in the first quarter of 2010.

Operating ratio for the LTL segment, the largest contributor to overall revenue, in the fourth quarter improved to 101.9 percent, down from 103.7 percent last year.

Vitran also sees further improvement in performance at its logistics or supply chain operations segment, the second largest contributor to overall revenue.

The segment posted a 16 percent increase in fourth-quarter revenue to $21.5 million.

"Our supply chain operation segment is growing and performing. It is becoming a significant contributor to Vitran's overall business model," Gaetz said in a statement.

Q4 LOSS NARROWS

Net loss for the fourth quarter was $2.3 million, or 14 cents a share, compared with a loss of $79.0 million, or $5.85 a share, a year ago. Vitran incurred a goodwill impairment charge of $107.3 million in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue rose 7 percent to $165.0 million.

Vitran said loss from operations from its less-than-truckload segment fell to $2.6 million from $4.7 million a year ago. Revenue for the segment was up 6 percent to $134.7 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

Shares of the Toronto-based Vitran rose to a high of C$10.35, but pared some gains and were trading up 71 Canadian cents at C$10.06 Monday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel and Unnikrishnan Nair)

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