March 26, 2010 / 11:31 AM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Strongco Q4 loss narrows

* Revenue down 35 pct

* Says new construction equipment mkt to remain weak in Q1

March 26 (Reuters) - Canada’s Strongco Income Fund SQP_u.TO posted a narrower quarterly loss, helped by higher margins, and said its current order book for new construction equipment has nearly doubled from the end of 2009.

“While such signs are encouraging, Canadian markets overall for new construction equipment are expected to remain weak at least through the first quarter of 2010,” the company added.

Strongco, which makes and distributes engineered systems and equipment, said it expects to be in a solid position as construction markets begin to recover in 2010.

Fourth-quarter net loss narrowed to C$2.1 million, or 20 Canadian cents a share, from a loss of C$2.6 million, or 25 Canadian cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 35 percent to C$67.5 million.

Gross margin as a percentage of revenue increased to 19.4 percent from 15.4 percent in the quarter. Customers continued to repair existing equipment, rather than buy new equipment, which increased the sales mix of the higher-margin product support business, Strongco said.

Units of the Mississauga, Ontario-based company closed at C$3.74 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Gowri Jayakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal)

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