Go-Ahead figures significantly impacted by COVID-19
But Government support lessens coronavirus blow
Go-Ahead has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, according to the company’s annual financial results for the year ended 27 June 2020. This is particularly the case in its regional bus operations, where operating profit in this segment was £20.5m (2019: £44.5m). Government support has enabled a break-even performance since March. It describes its London and international bus business as resilient with operating profit of £48.5m (2019: £51.2m). Revenue in these latter two markets is protected by contracted income.
Although Group revenue rose to £3.9bn (2019: £3.7bn), the company reported a pre-tax profit for the period of £56.9m, down from 2019’s £113.8m. Despite these figures, its results are slightly above its revised guidance.
David Brown, Group Chief Executive, said: “Our financial results for the year have been significantly impacted by the pandemic despite only four months of the crisis period falling within our financial year.
“90% of Go-Ahead revenues are secured through contractual arrangements, largely comprising revenues from our London and international bus business and UK rail franchises.
“Our regional bus business has been heavily impacted by the crisis as the number of passengers travelling on our services reduced significantly in March as a result of lockdown restrictions. While we hope to be operating under more normal circumstances as soon as possible, we welcome the vital financial support that these services receive through government funding until passenger numbers recover.
“We are pleased to see more and more people travelling on our buses and trains. Our regional bus services are now carrying around 50% to 60% of normal passenger numbers, enabling us to contribute to economic recovery while supporting social distancing requirements.
“Our devolved structure, strong values, resilient business model, disciplined financial management and risk appetite gave us a stable footing as the crisis unfolded. I believe these attributes will continue to support our business as we look to the future.
“While we live with the uncertainty that the pandemic has brought to our communities and our business, public transport continues to provide vital connectivity between jobs, education and leisure. We believe that the only way the UK Government can achieve its Net Zero carbon commitment, economic recovery and its health and wellbeing strategy, is through increased investment and focus on the use of public transport.”