First Bus revenues down slightly

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FirstGroup has released a third quarter trading update, with UK Bus division revenue down.

Overall, the company saw a 12.8% rise in revenue due to a favourable currency translation, but on a constant currency basis, revenue was flat, with growth in North America offset by the UK.

Commenting on the announcement, FirstGroup CEO, Tim O’Toole, said: “Our overall trading performance continues to support our expectation of good progress for the current year.

“Our substantial North American operations are delivering encouraging performances and are benefiting from currency tailwinds, but we continue to experience tough trading conditions for our First Bus and First Rail operations in what remains an uncertain UK macroeconomic environment.

“We remain focused on disciplined execution to deliver significantly increased cash generation for the full year.”
The company said industry-wide market conditions continue to be challenging for First Bus, with mixed Christmas trading for the UK high street and ongoing congestion issues in several local markets. Like-for-like passenger revenues decreased by 0.6% in the third quarter, a modest improvement on the first half, with year-to-date revenue down 1.1%.

The company said it continues to focus on cost efficiencies, including ongoing depot consolidation to improve margins, while investing in its customer offering through smarter ticketing and real-time passenger information.