Lothian positive despite profit decrease as patronage rises

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Lothian Buses has posted its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Revenue increased from £146.9m in 2016 to £152.9m in 2017. However, net profit fell from £11.98m to £7.37m. An interim dividend of £1.06 per share was paid on December 20, with the overall dividend increasing from £6.6m to £6.8m.

The operator’s profit margin fell from 9% to 6.7%. However, patronage was up, increasing from 119.9 million passenger journeys to 121.1 million. Lothian also retained its 100% MOT pass rate.

The company highlighted its investment of £26.2m in its asset portfolio this year, particularly 86 new passenger vehicles, adding around 10% to the size of its total fleet.

Jim McFarlane, Chairman of Lothian, said: “I’m really pleased that our accounts released today demonstrate that we continue to buck the national trend experienced by much of the bus industry by increasing customers, revenues and investment.

“We continue to grow and expand, creating new jobs and opportunities by focusing on high-quality products coupled with strong delivery by our teams, while increasing the levels of transport provision for our customers’’

Richard Hall, Managing Director of Lothian, added: “Lothian contributes massively to both the local and wider Scottish economies, whether that be through employment opportunities or our supply chain.

“It is now critical that we future-proof our business by investing in new opportunities and markets as well as improving the profile of our fleet and assets.

“Significant investment in new buses to enhance the customer experience and meet emissions targets is a key critical path. Such investment, growth and expansion creates new jobs whilst increasing levels of transport provision and improving the overall customer experience.

“Partnership working is vital to the future success of our operations and we need to continue to work closely with the City of Edinburgh and surrounding Lothian councils to ensure that our buses are able to move efficiently around the city and its environs.

“Buses are the solution, both now and in the future to combat rising congestion and environmental issues.”