Go-Ahead posts strong half-year results

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Go-Ahead Group says its operating companies are always looking to develop ticketing options and run campaigns that offer great value. For example, Plymouth Citybus has launched a £5 ‘Weekend Wonder’ ticket, enabling unlimited travel from Friday evening through to Sunday night, proving popular with weekend workers and leisure travellers. GARETH EVANS

Revenue, profit and operating margin all increase considerably, though there is little improvement from the group’s bus division

Go-Ahead Group has posted its half year results for the period ended December 30, 2017, with operating profits increasing by almost a fifth.

Revenue increased by 6.6% to £1.83bn, with operating profit increasing by 19% to £86.9m, on an improved margin of 4.8% (2017: 4.3%).

Profit before tax stood at £79.7m (previously £67m) while earnings per share increased by 7.3% to 115.5p. Interim dividend per share remained at 30.17p.

The group’s bus division results were stable, with a 0.2% increase in operating profit to £46.6m. In regional bus operations, like-for-like revenue growth was 0.4%, with a slight decrease in passenger volumes. Reported growth for revenue and passenger journeys was 2.4% and 1.6% respectively.

In London, the company said it had performed in line with expectations, with a slight decline in mileage offset by a better quality incentive contract performance.

David Brown, Group Chief Executive, commented: “I’m pleased to report a good set of half year results. Our bus operations have performed as anticipated and our full year expectations for the division remain unchanged.

“During the period we have delivered improvements to support our strategy and deliver benefits to passengers. In bus, we’ve introduced new technology, such as implementing contactless payments and piloting iBeacon apps, making it quicker and easier to pay for travel. Our regional bus customer satisfaction score of 90% remains the highest in the UK.

“Our international strategy has continued with the mobilisation of new contracts in German rail and Dublin bus and bidding for work in our target markets. We have also made progress in line with our strategy to prepare for the future of transport with some new initiatives, such as commercialising our retail and ticketing expertise and making a small investment in a German car-sharing business.

“Our established bus and rail businesses continue to demonstrate the value private companies bring through the delivery of customer-focused public-sector transport services. By innovating and adapting our operations, we believe we can protect and grow our core business and by building on our skills and experience in the UK we are able to develop new international businesses and prepare for the future of transport by creating new product offerings for a new set of customers. We are confident that our strategy will continue to deliver value to customers, colleagues, society and shareholders over the long-term.”