FIrstGroup says its financial results for the 2022 financial year are ahead of expectations, having delivered on its commitments to simplify and refocus its business while releasing value to shareholders.
Executive Chairman David Martin said: “We have delivered on our commitments this year to refocus the business, de-risk the balance sheet and unlock value for shareholders. As a cash generative business with a strong balance sheet, FirstGroup is well placed to invest in the services our passengers want, to sustain our path to a zero-emission bus fleet, and to actively consider additional value creation opportunities to leverage our market leading public transport expertise. The Board’s confidence in the prospects for the Group is reflected in the decision to commence dividend payments.”
Chief Executive Officer Graham Sutherland added:”The transformed Group has momentum and we expect to make significant further progress in the year to March 2023. With leading positions in bus and rail, a strong balance sheet and a clear purpose, FirstGroup has many opportunities ahead to deliver sustainable shareholder value creation while delivering the vital services that are key to achieving society’s sustainability and economic goals.”
While some uncertainty remains around the pace of recovery in light of the pandemic and the broader macroeconomic backdrop, the Group said current trading is in line with expectations, with the Group expected to make significant further progress in the 2023 financial year.
First Bus passenger volume reached 76% of the equivalent 2019 period recently, the operator reports, and it expects volumes to continue to increase in the current financial year.