News Column

Go-Ahead Confident About Prospects As Profit Accelerates

September 4, 2014

Steve McGrath



LONDON (Alliance News) - Bus and rail company Go-Ahead Group PLC Thursday reported higher profit and revenue for its last financial year as both operations performed better than it had originally hoped, and said that the current financial year has also got off to a good start with trading in line with its hopes.


The company, recently buoyed when it was awarded the huge new rail franchise covering a swathe of southeast England, reported a pretax profit of GBP91.2 million for the year ended June 28, up from GBP63.1 million a year earlier, as revenue rose to GBP2.70 billion, from GBP2.57 billion, and its operating profit margin increased.


It said it had carried record passenger numbers on both its rail and bus operations during the year.


Go-Ahead raised its final dividend for the year to 59.0 pence, from 55.5 pence, bringing the total for the year to 84.5 pence, compared with 81.0 pence. The increase reflects its confidence in its performance and prospects, it said.


It kept its target of raising operating profit in its bus division to GBP100 million by the 2015/16 financial year, having increased it by 11.0% to GBP83.5 million last year.


"Our bus operations continue to perform well, driving revenue through initiatives such as smart and mobile-ticketing (m-ticketing) and delivering cost savings. In the year, efficiencies were made in a range of areas including employee productivity and procurement," the company said.


Its rail business is run through Govia. It owns 65% of the business, while French transport company Keolis, majority owned by French national railway SNCF, owns the rest. Govia's current franchises include Southern Southeastern and London Midland.


However, it recently won the new super-franchise awarded by the UK government which brings together the southern franchise with the cross-London Thameslink franchise and the Great Northern franchise. It is also short-listed for the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises.


"Not only does this mean we will retain the routes and customer relationships from the Southern franchise, we will also gain a significant revenue stream from the Great Northern and Thameslink services," it said.


Revenue from its rail operations rose to GBP1.90 billion in the last financial year, from GBP1.81 billion a year earlier, pushing up operating profit to GBP19.7 million, from GBP11.5 million. The margin in the business improved to 1.0%, from 0.6%.


Overall net debt at the year end fell to GBP42.7 million, from GBP90.9 million a year earlier, reflecting the higher profits, positive working capital inflows and slightly lower than expected capital expenditure, Go-Ahead said. Cash generated from operations before tax was GBP184.3 million, up from GBP126.0 million.







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Source: Alliance News


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