Stagecoach updates on coronavirus impact

Coronavirus has impacted Stagecoach with commercial sales at its regional bus operating companies now at around 17% of prior year levels. However, Stagecoach Chief Executive sees a silver lining for buses in terms of increased focus on health and wellbeing.

Since 3 April 2020, Stagecoach’s available liquidity has increased significantly due to positive cash flow and new borrowing capacity. Available cash and undrawn, committed bank facilities have increased to over £800m. It estimates its adjusted earnings per share for the year ended 2 May 2020 will be between 12.5p and 14p. Plans are in place to increase our regional bus vehicle mileage closer to pre-COVID levels in the near future, versus the current 40% of pre-COVID-19 levels. It is set to benefit from the government’s bus restart programme, which will provide operators in England outside London with payments for an increased level of services.

Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach Chief Executive, said: “We are proud to serve the country and our communities, providing critical transport services for key workers and other essential journeys. We would like to thank our employees for their significant contribution to the national effort. Our priority at this time remains the safety and wellbeing of our customers and our employees, and we have put in place extensive enhanced COVID-related measures in line with public health guidance. We have also provided customers with detailed guidance on how they can use our services easily and play their part in keeping our transport networks safe for everyone. By following these guidelines, public transport can continue to be a positive and sustainable choice for local communities.

“We see a lasting effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel patterns with an acceleration in trends of increased working from home, shopping from home, telemedicine and home education. We anticipate that it will be some time before demand for our public transport services returns to pre-COVID levels and we are planning for a number of scenarios. At the same time, we see positive drivers for our business from a renewed societal focus on health, wellbeing and the environment. Public transport can play a major role in a cleaner, greener and more resilient economy and society, tackling climate change with strong government action to reduce car use.”

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