SAN MATEO, Calif. — Trucking operator Con-way Inc. said Thursday it narrowed its fourth-quarter loss from a year ago, when it took huge write-downs, and sales were flat.
CEO Douglas W. Stotlar said the trucking business is still troubled by too much capacity, which is blocking a recovery in profit.
The fourth-quarter loss was $1.9 million, or 4 cents per share. That compared with a loss of $43 million, or 94 cents per share, a year earlier, when the company took big restructuring and acquisition-related write-downs. The most recent loss included 4 cents per share for outsourcing expenses.
Analysts expected the company to earn 14 cents per share after items, according to Thomson Reuters.
Revenue was $1.12 billion, nearly flat with $1.13 billion a year earlier.
For all of 2009, Con-way lost $110.9 million, or $2.33 per share, compared with a gain of $67 million, or $1.40 per share, in 2008. Revenue fell to $4.27 billion from $5.04 billion.
Con-way, based in San Mateo, operates truckload and less-than-truckload operations. The former covers shipments for one customer, while less-than-truckload companies bundle shipments from several customers, which are then distributed to terminals along a route.
The company said less-than-truckload operations saw prices stabilize in the fourth quarter but at lower levels than a year before. The company earned an operating profit, reversing a year-ago loss. Stotlar said with too much capacity, chances to improve profit margins “will be difficult.”
The truckload business earned a smaller operating profit than a year ago due to lower prices and fuel surcharges.
Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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