Patrick E. Bowe
million in corporate level severance costs. In addition, after giving considerable thought to how we should respond to the benefits the company has received and will continue to receive as a result of the US federal income tax reform. In March, we decided to issue a one-time $1000 payment to every employee other than my senior management team in thanks and recognition for their hard work and commitment during the difficult market conditions we've faced together over the last several years. The financial cost of the decision was about $1.6 million in the quarter and was charged to each employees business unit.
We continue to manage our asset portfolio and balance sheet during the quarter. On our last earnings call, we announced that we had agreed to sell three of our Tennessee grain elevators, that transaction closed smoothly in April. Relative to our balance sheet, our Rail Group entered into an asset backed lending arrangement during the quarter to allow the group to become more competitive in the railcar lease market.
On the growth front, we announced in March that we're partnering with ICM to build what will be the world's most technologically advanced dry mill ethanol plant when it begins operating in the middle of next year. I'll speak later in the call about the outlook for the remainder of 2018 and some of the actions we're taking to improve our performance this year.
Anne will now walk you through a more detailed review of our financial results.
Thanks, Pat, and good morning, everyone. In the first quarter of 2018, the company incurred a net loss attributable to the Andersons of $1.7 million or negative $0.06 per diluted share on revenues of $636 million. These results compared to the first quarter of 2017, when our revenues of $852 million generated a net loss of $3.1 million or negative $0.11 per diluted share.
I want to make several observations that should help you more appropriately compare the two sets of results. The 2017 first quarter results included a $6.8 million pretax loss associated with the company's former retail business as well as a $4.7 million pretax gain on the sale of our Florida farm centers. The absence of the retail business from 2018 results accounted for 15% of the revenue variants and more than 70% of the $12.8 million gross profit variants year-over-year. We've also shared with you previously that there are new revenue recognition rules that became effective in January, which also impact the comparability of the two periods. More than 75% of the year-over-year reduction in revenues can be attributed to the way we now record certain grain transactions, but there is no change in the gross profit earned on those transactions. The other significant impact of the new rules is to change the characterization of certain non-recourse railcar transactions from sales to debt financing. We've recorded a cumulative catch up adjustment as of January 1, 2018 that included the addition of $37 million in financing obligations related