Steady as she goes for Go-Ahead

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Last week Go-Ahead Group announced the acquisition of East of England independent Anglian Bus. An Wrightbus-bodied Scania is seen here in Norwich working route 123 to Wroxham
Last week Go-Ahead Group announced the acquisition of East of England independent Anglian Bus. An Wrightbus-bodied Scania is seen here in Norwich working route 123 to Wroxham

The Go-Ahead Group plc has announced its Interim Management Statement for the period from January 1, 2012 to April 25, 2012. The group claims trading in the third quarter has been solid and its expectations for the full year to June 30, 2012 remain unchanged.

Since February, Go-Ahead has acquired First London East’s Northumberland Park bus depot in Tottenham, plus the Essex-based company Hedingham Omnibuses and, most recently, Anglian Bus based in Suffolk.

Outside London, year to date revenue (excluding acquisitions) increased by around 4% and passenger numbers were up around 3%, with stronger growth in fare-paying passengers being partly offset by recent weaker concessionary performance.

Passengers continue to take advantage of value for money period passes and smartcards and this has reduced the average yield per customer for the company but provides the opportunity for longterm growth.

Following the Government’s decision to reduce funding through cuts in BSOG and as a result of increasing fuel prices, Go-Ahead is to review its fares and target cost efficiencies in the fourth quarter.

The Group said its London bus business performed strongly in the quarter. Excluding acquisitions, year to date revenue and mileage rose by over 4% and 2%, respectively.

Go-Ahead Group remains in a good financial position with strong cash generation and a robust balance sheet, underpinning its dividend policy and allowing flexibility to pursue further valueadding opportunities.

David Brown, Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead, said: “I am pleased to report continued growth in both our bus and rail divisions. In bus, our focus of operating in urban areas, predominantly in the South East, combined with our strategy of local management and marketing has continued to deliver growth.

“Our sector leading London bus business performed strongly in the quarter and we were pleased to announce the acquisition of the Northumberland Park depot in North London, demonstrating our long term confidence in this market. Whilst we continue to be cautious about the wider economic outlook, we remain confident that we will deliver a full year result in line with our expectations.

“Due to recent acquisitions in our bus division, year end net debt is projected to be higher than previously stated at around £95m.”

The Interim Management Statement can be viewed at www.go-ahead.com