Stagecoach Group has published a trading update for the 40 weeks ended February 1.
Like-for-like revenue growth for the financial year to date in each of the Group’s main businesses is positive. In UK bus, regional operations saw 2.7% growth, while London saw 9.8% growth. UK Rail was up 7.6%, while the groups North American and Megabus operations saw a more modest increase of 1.9%. Virgin Rail grew by 6.7%.
UK Bus (regional operations) saw passenger volumes grow by 0.4%. Although growth in January was lower than in the previous months of the year, this was largely due to year-on-year variations in weather.
In London, revenue was lost in January as a result of a 24-hour strike by bus drivers affecting all major operators of Transport for London bus contracts. Excluding an uplift in contract prices to compensate for the cessation of Bus Service Operators’ Grant, revenue increased by 7.3%.
Since December 2014 in North America, there has been no significant change to the group’s expectation of operating profit. Like-for-like revenue growth of 1.9% for the nine months includes revenue growth of 10.3% at megabus.com. The rate of revenue growth is below that experienced earlier in the year reflecting the effect of the significant fall in fuel prices on demand for the services, particularly inter-city coach services, and lower revenue growth in December and January partly due to the effects of adverse weather conditions.
The group said that although there are a number of challenges to growing profit in the year ending April 30, 2015, overall current trading is satisfactory and it is on course to meet expectations.