First ‘well positioned’ – latest financial results

First Group is ‘well positioned’, according to CEO, Graham Sutherland, in the company’s latest financial figures.

In its update on trading since the half year results published on 23 November 2023, trading in the First Bus division is reported as being strong and in line with the Group’s expectations. The division is on track to have more than 600 electric buses (around 15% of its fleet) and three fully electric commercial bus networks in England by Spring 2024, building on the progress already made in Scotland.

Following the conclusion of a customary regulatory review, the Group completed the acquisition of York Pullman Bus Company Ltd on 23 February 2024. As well as its coach services, York Pullman also has a small number of local bus routes operated on behalf of several local authorities, which First says is complementary to its operations in York. For the year ended 31 December 2022, York Pullman reported revenues of around £10m and EBIT of circa £2m. The acquisition is expected to provide profitable growth opportunities in adjacent contracted services and commercial markets, with the opportunity for development into other locations across the UK.

Trading in the First Rail division has been slightly ahead of the Group’s expectations.

Graham Sutherland, FirstGroup Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our focus on operational delivery, driving demand for our services and growing and diversifying our portfolio has resulted in further progress in the second half of our financial year. This leaves us well positioned to create further sustainable value for all our stakeholders.”

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