4/27/2012 11:45:00 AM
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Arkansas Best Corp. on Friday said its first-quarter loss widened from a year ago, in part due to a low corporate tax benefit rate, high workers’ compensation costs and investments in sales, customer service and information technology.

The company’s loss was $18.2 million, or 71 cents a share, compared with loss of $12.8 million, or 51 cents, a year ago.

Revenue edged up to $440.9 million, a 0.6% per-day increase over last year.

ABF Freight System, its less-than-truckload operation and largest business unit, had an operating loss of $22 million, compared to an operating loss of $23.1 million a year ago.

ABF’s revenue was $400.6 million, which was unchanged on a per-day basis from a year ago. Tonnage per day dropped 10.6%.

Tonnage levels were impacted by pricing actions taken in 2011 and a “sluggish and inconsistentâ€� economic environment, despite some improvement throughout the quarter, the company said in a statement.

Arkansas Best Corp. is ranked No. 14 on the Transport Topics 100 listing of U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.

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