April 27, 2010 / 9:24 PM / in 7 years

UPDATE 1-Vitran's narrower Q1 loss beats mkt view

* Q1 loss/shr $0.06 vs est loss/shr $0.10

* Revenue up 19 pct to $165.9 mln

April 27 (Reuters) - Canadian transportation company Vitran Corp VTN.TO VTNC.O posted a narrower first-quarter loss that beat estimates, helped by reduced loss from operations and higher shipments at its less-than-truckload (LTL) segment.

“The economic environment appears to have shown signs of improvement and the U.S. LTL pricing environment may have stabilized,” Chief Executive Rick Gaetz said in a statement.

Net loss for the quarter was $929,000, or 6 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $2.3 million, or 17 cents apiece, a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter rose 19 percent to $165.9 million, helped primarily by fuel surcharge variations and foreign exchange on its Canada operations.

Shipments at its LTL segment rose 10.9 percent and tonnage improved 12.1 percent, resulting in a 78 percent fall in loss from operations at $600,000.

For the first quarter, analysts on average expected the company to post a net loss of 10 cents a share, on revenue of $163.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Operating ratio -- an efficiency measure which compares net sales and operating expense -- for the LTL segment, the largest contributor to overall revenue, improved to 100.5 percent, down from 102.3 percent last year. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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