Overall trading for FirstGroup in the fourth quarter was in line with management’s expectations, according to a pre-close trading update for the 12 months ended 31 March 2015. The announcement was ahead of preliminary results due to be released on 10 June 2015. First’s UK Bus transformation programme continues to deliver like-for-like passenger volume growth, expected to increase by 1.1% for the year. Its plans are particularly focused on driving commercial passenger volume growth, which is expected to increase by 2.6% on a like-for-like basis for the year. Revenue growth is also expected to benefit from periodic price increases in line with the market. As a result, overall like-for-like revenue growth is expected to be 2.3% for the year. This growth is expected to result in a margin progress of approximately 1% for the year.
Chief Executive, Tim O’Toole, said, ‘Overall trading for the year is in line with our expectations and we continue to make progress with our multi-year transformation plans, which will improve the Group’s financial performance and ensure we deliver sustainable value creation in the medium term. The pricing improvements we made in the 2014 bid season together with further cost savings mean we expect to make solid margin progress in First Student for the year, and we are also encouraged by the results achieved at this stage in the 2015 bid season. In UK Bus we continue to deliver passenger volume growth, positive yield and further cost efficiencies.’