Financial Forensics: Stagecoach

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £8.99.

Steven Knight analyses the accounts to see how some of Stagecoach’s operating companies performed in the last financial year

While it is normal for ‘listed’ companies to provide their shareholders with trading updates, these tend to focus on top level performance at group level. The real financial detail can be found in the individual accounts that are filed as a statutory requirement with Companies House.

Those for the Stagecoach Group operating businesses, covering the year to 29 April 2023, have recently been filed and provide a snapshot of the individual company performance.

We selected four geographically spaced companies to see how they performed, and have also taken a quick look at top level trading detail for the last full year of trading (to April 2019) before the major impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In some cases, changes to company structures means that operating areas may have changed year on year.

As is common within large group companies, capital expense on new vehicle purchase is borne at Group level and recovered through monthly depreciation payments from the operating companies.

We have used the operating margin figure, pre-tax profit as a percentage of turnover to calculate the financial health of the four companies which show at best a return of under 5%. This is a long way from the early part of the millennium when, for example, the Cambus Limited (Stagecoach East) business was producing an Operating Margin of 14.74% in 2008/09. For 2022/23 it was in the red at -2.46%.

Turnover has been calculated using revenue, other income – which includes Government and other support – as well as bus advertising income. Also included is any financial income from interest received. Exceptional items applied after the pre-tax profit/loss accounts line have not been included in the calculations.

On 28th June 2022, the listing of Stagecoach Group’s shares was cancelled. On 15th August 2022, lnframobility UK Bidco Limited completed the acquisition of the Group’s entire issued share capital, and on 17 October 2022, the Group re-registered as a private company. lnframobility UK Bidco Limited is a company managed by DWS Infrastructure, a long-term infrastructure investment management business.

The accounts show diverse financial performance across the four operating companies, which were picked at random. It also shows that the new owners are looking to boost Group finances through dividend payments from the regional operating companies.

Western Buses Limited

2022/23 Operating Margin 2.84%


Are you enjoying this feature? Why not subscribe to continue reading?

Subscribe for 6 issues/weeks from only £6Or login if you are already a subscriber

By subscribing you will benefit from:

  • Operator & Supplier Profiles
  • Face-to-Face Interviews
  • Lastest News
  • Test Drives and Reviews
  • Legal Updates
  • Route Focus
  • Industry Insider Opinions
  • Passenger Perspective
  • Vehicle Launches
  • and much more!