No dividend from First
According to FirstGroup Plc’s preliminary results for the year ended 31 March 2014, the company will refrain from reinstating a dividend to its shareholders. The Group claims it will take some time before it is able to deliver a profile of consistent surplus cash that can be distributed to shareholders, taking into account the current stage of the First Student and UK Bus recovery programmes and its commitment to its capital investment programme. Overall trading has been in line with its expectations, with revenue of £6,717.4m (2013: £6,900.9m), down 2.7%. Its operating profit amounted to £232.2m (2013: £139.8m), a rise of 66.1%.
First’s UK bus operations achieved revenue of £930.2m (2013: £1,128.2m) and like-for-like passenger revenue growth (adjusting for the sale of its London business) was 1.8%. Adjusted operating profit was £44.4m (2013: £50.8m), resulting in a margin of 4.8% (2013: 4.5%). During the year, it completed the first stages of its transformation plan, including the disposal of certain businesses. In 2014/15 it plans to work through its network and fares optimisation programmes. During the period, it aims to introduce smart and mobile ticketing, together with enhancements to customer information channels, to spur further volume growth.