FirstGroup profits and revenue benefit from favourable exchange rates

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FirstGroup has released half-yearly results for the six months ended September 30, 2017.

Group revenue increased by 8.1% to £2.77bn, though without the new SWR rail franchise and a favourable foreign exchange rate, the increase was a more modest 0.9%.

Operating profit increased slightly by 0.4% to £89.4m, though on a constant currency basis, it was down by 9.1%. Operating margin decreased from 3.5% to 3.2%, partially due to the severe hurricane impact on First Transit operations in Puerto Rico, along with higher driver shortage costs due to the strength of the US employment market.

Earnings per share were placed at 1.9p, a 35.7% increase.

Chief Executive, Tim O’Toole, said: “The overall trading performance and significantly increased free cash generation of the Group in the first half was consistent with the plans we outlined at the start of the financial year. First’s UK Bus division saw a 0.3% constant currency increase in revenue, with adjusted operating profit stated as £15.8m, a 15.3% increase. Operating margin increased from 3.2% to 3.7%.”