The Go-Ahead Group says its half year results show ‘encouraging’ financial performance and passenger recovery in the wake of the pandemic, with an operating profit of $42.6m and a like-for-like operating profit increase of £6.4m, or 17.7%.
The Group’s regional bus operations have reverted to a more commercial model, as ridership returns to above 80% of pre-pandemic levels, whilst it reports resilient results from its London & International division. The Group will reinstate its pre-Covid-19 dividend policy of paying a dividend to shareholders equivalent to between 50% and 75% of underlying earnings per share from the 2022 full year, and the Board intends to recommend a dividend of not less than 50 pence per share in respect of the year ending 2 July 2022. Trading in the second half of the year is said to be robust and the Board now anticipates a full year result ahead of its previous expectations.
Christian Schreyer, Group Chief Executive, commented: “These results demonstrate an encouraging performance as Go-Ahead emerges from a challenging period. We’re looking ahead with confidence, with a new leadership team in place and a new strategy to improve the efficiency of our bus and rail companies.
“Our bus and rail companies are adapting to meet changing travel patterns as we emerge from the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are digitalising, decarbonising and reducing costs to ensure we deliver an outstanding performance for our customers while delivering attractive returns for shareholders. We have a strong balance sheet, with low net debt, and are well placed to take advantage of expansion opportunities.”
The bus division had a good start to the year owing to London & International Bus generating profits at pre-covid levels and regional bus performance reflecting the post pandemic recovery and return to a more commercial operating model. Operating profit declined 24.6% to £37.4m despite revenue growth of 0.2%.