UPDATE 1-Vitran says spot prices in truckload business improving

Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:06pm EDT

* Says daily activity to be "bit better" sequentially in April

* Sees small sequential improvement in April yield

* Shares touch 19-month high

April 28 (Reuters) - North American transportation company Vitran Corp VTN.TO VTNC.O said it has started to see some improvement in spot pricing in its truckload business, sending its shares to a 19-month high.

Vitran, which offers less-than-truckload (LTL), supply chain, truckload and freight brokerage services, said it expects April to be "bit better" sequentially from a daily activity perspective.

"The bleeding has stopped from the pricing perspective," Chief Executive Rick Gaetz said on a conference call with analysts.

The North American trucking industry had been hit hard during the recession as excess capacity put pressure on pricing and dented margins.

Gaetz said pricing erosion had come to a "kind of full stop in February and we actually saw a very small sequential gain in real yield."

"We expect a similar small sequential improvement in yield for the month of April," the CEO added. On Tuesday, Vitran posted a narrower first-quarter loss, driven by reduced loss from operations and higher shipments at its LTL segment. [ID:nSGE63Q0JU]

The company said it is also seeing signs of improved consumer spending that will boost its retail-based supply chain business, which is the second largest contributor to overall revenue.

It expects 2010 total capital expenditure of $10 million to $12 million.

Vitran shares were up 70 Canadian cents at C$14.59 Wednesday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)

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