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MoneyStagecoach annual profit rises, faces UK rail hurdles

15:05  26 june  2019
15:05  26 june  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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Shares in Stagecoach rose almost 13 percent on Wednesday after the British transport company bumped up its annual profit forecast, citing a strong Stagecoach said on Wednesday that comparable revenue at its UK rail business excluding the Virgin Rail East Coast rail route rose 1.4

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Stagecoach annual profit rises, faces UK rail hurdles © Getty

Stagecoach Group Plc reported higher annual profit on Wednesday, even as the bus and rail operator faces losing three important rail franchises that could wipe off 1 billion pounds from the company's books going forward.

The company, which sued the British transport authority last month for disqualifying it from contracts, said pretax profit from continuing operations rose to 132.9 million pounds for the year ended April 27 from 128.3 million pounds a year earlier.

"We continue to focus on driving growth at our core high quality bus and coach operations in the UK, but we have no intention to bid for new UK rail franchises on the current risk profile offered by the Department for Transport," Chief Executive Officer Martin Griffiths said in a statement.

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Annual pre-tax profits rose 7 per cent at Stagecoach , in the company’s fourth successive year of earnings growth, as rising revenues at its UK rail operations and in North America, offset the cost of higher fuel and insurance charges. But Martin Griffiths, finance director said that the group might raise

They also show the difficulties Stagecoach faces in growing bus passenger numbers in regional British cities and higher than expected staff costs in its “The ability to grow the dividend will depend on restoring the bus divisions to profit growth. The current outlook in the UK remains challenging,” he said.

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Stagecoach annual profit rises, faces UK rail hurdles

Stagecoach's bids to renew existing East Midlands and West Coast rail franchises with partners were disqualified over pension responsibility concerns, leading Stagecoach to sue the British transport authority along with partners SNCF and Virgin.

Without the three franchises, Stagecoach could lose its UK rail business, which rakes in almost half of its revenue. Operating profit for 2019-2020 from the business is expected to be minimal.

Annual revenue from continuing operations fell 33.3% to 1.88 billion pounds mainly due to two franchises ending.

Revenue from Stagecoach's UK bus business was higher even though over recent years Britons have relied less on buses as they shop more online and change their working patterns.

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