Rotala plc, owner of Diamond Bus and Preston Bus amongst others, has published a trading update looking back on 2018 and forecasting its trajectory for the remainder of 2019.
According to the report, trading during the 2018 financial year was in line with market expectations.
Net debt, which stood at £32.8m at the half year, fell to £31.5m by the end of the financial year on 30 November.
Additionally, the firm grew last year through the acquisition of Central Buses – a move which Rotala says “considerably strengthened” its network of bus services in the northern part of Birmingham, particularly in the Perry Barr area.
Rotala also announced that the fuel hedge contracts it took out in November 2018 have been extended.
All of the group’s fuel requirements for 2019 have now been covered by the contracts at an average price of £1 per litre – the price Rotala had budgeted for.
As for 2019, Rotala reports that has begun in line with its budget.
“In the view of the Board, the uncertainty and disruption caused by the Bus Services Act 2017 continues to drive change in the bus industry,” reads the report.
“Accordingly, the Board remains focused on identifying suitable acquisitions which will enhance and expand the services of the Group.
At the same time the Group possesses ample financial facilities to undertake further acquisitions.
“The Group performed well in 2018 and, with a strong management team and a comprehensive network of operating facilities, is well placed to take advantage of these continuing developments in the bus industry.
“Such uncertainty brings opportunity to groups like Rotala and the Group is well placed to take advantage of any acquisition opportunities that may arise.”