Con-Way Transportation Services has reported strong third-quarter earnings, compared to the spotty financials posted by its parent company, CNF Inc.

CNF Inc. posted a net loss to common shareholders in the third quarter of $216.2 million, compared with a net income of $24.8 million in the same period last year. The planned sale of Menlo Worldwide Forwarding resulted in a $260.5 million after-tax impairment charge, which dealt a severe blow to the company’s bottom line.

On October 5, CNF announced an agreement to sell its Menlo Worldwide Forwarding unit to UPS for $150 million in cash and the assumption of $110 million in debt. This transaction excludes CNF’s Menlo Worldwide Logistics, Vector SCM, Con-Way Transportation Services and Road Systems subsidiaries.

For the first none months of 2004, CNF reported a net loss to common shareholders of $156.3 million, compared with a net income of $57 million in the same period last year.

However, there is a bright spot in CNF’s earnings report, most notably from its freight subsidiary Con-Way Transportation Services.

“Con-Way in particular has strong results with 19% growth in revenue and a 31% increase in operating income (compared with the same period last year),” said CNF chairman & CEO W. Keith Kennedy.

Operating income (earnings before interest payments and income taxes) was $70.6 million, while revenue was $684.8.

The regional carrier saw a 13.8% increase in tonnage per day, while yield increased 3.5% compared to the same period last year.

Menlo Worldwide reported an operating income of $8.5 million, a 45% reduction over the same period last year.

Menlo Worldwide Logistics said its operating income fell 11% to $5.8 million over last year’s third quarter.

Menlo Worldwide Other, which consists of Vector SCM, reported operating income of $2.7 million, a 69% reduction over the same period last year.