First UK Bus division grows revenue

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FirstGroup has released a trading update for the period of October 1, 2017 to January 31, 2018, which showed encouraging revenue growth for the UK Bus division.

While revenues in the USA had struggled due to challenging weather conditions, First UK Bus saw like-for-like revenue growth of 1.4%, increasing the year-to-date figure to +0.9%.

FirstGroup CEO, Tim O’Toole, said: “We reached an important milestone in the period with our long-dated bond portfolio beginning to mature, allowing us to significantly reduce our interest burden by starting to refinance and rebalance the Group’s debt. We are pleased by the support shown in the credit market for our improved financial profile and disciplined strategy.

“In the period First Bus has made encouraging margin progress as we benefit from our cost efficiency actions and revenue growth, while our First Rail franchise portfolio continues to generate value for the Group despite infrastructure challenges.

“First Student’s momentum continues to be tempered by the strength of the US employment market, with no easing of the driver shortages experienced in recent years, while First Transit has taken a number of actions to help restore margins in the second half as planned. Although Greyhound’s point-to-point business continues to grow, this was more than offset by significant reductions in long-haul volumes in the period. Our North American businesses were also tested by the severe snowstorms which affected the Atlantic seaboard from Nova Scotia down to Florida in January 2018. Notwithstanding the mixed trading picture in the period we continue to expect substantial cash generation for the year as a whole.”