Strong trading for Go-Ahead

In its full year results for the 12 months ended 29 June 2013, Go-Ahead reported strong trading in its bus business, with good progress towards its £100m bus profit target. Its overall results were slightly ahead of management expectations. At group level, its revenue amounted to £2,571.8m (2012: £2,423.8m). Its operating profit was £102.5m (2012: £110.2m) and its profit before tax was £86.2m (£94.2m).

Go-Ahead’s bus business revenue increased by 10.2% to £761.5m (2012: £691.3m) and a record operating profit of £78.2m (2012: £70.2m) was reported, which is up 11.4%. Its operating profit margin improved to 10.3% (2012: 10.2%). During the period, it purchased 11 residual TfL route contracts in Dagenham and 45 buses from First Capital East Ltd for a cash consideration of £0.7m.

In Go-Ahead’s deregulated bus division, revenue was £337.6m (2012: £312.9m), up 7.9%. Passenger numbers increased by 3.1%, with acquisitions contributing 2% and like for like growth 1.1%. Operating profit was £37.9m (2012: £35.4m), a 7.1% rise. In its regulated bus division in the capital, revenue grew by 12% to £423.9m (2012: £378.4m), of which 6.5% was on a like for like basis and 5.5% was from the First Northumberland Park operation previously acquired. Operating margins increased to 9.5% (2012: 9.2%), although when adjusting for revenue and operating profit associated with Olympic games contracts of £5.6m and £1.6m respectively, the underlying margin was 9.2%. Investment in its bus operations will continue, according to the company, with a total spend of around £50m expected in 2013/14.

Group Chief Executive, David Brown, said, ‘I am very pleased with the Group’s performance this year. We are reporting a set of good results, slightly ahead of the Board’s expectations, and are progressing well towards our bus operating profit target. At the core of the Group is our bus division, which has performed exceptionally well in the year, delivering record operating profit of £78.2m, up 11.4%. Increasing our profits ensures that we can continue to invest in the business and improve service quality for our passengers. Once again, we have invested in our bus fleet, spending £45.3m on 251 new buses in the year. This improves customer satisfaction and helps drive growth in passenger numbers. Strong take up of our smartcard, ‘the key’, has continued with over 400,000 cards now in issue and our advancements in mobile-ticketing (m-ticketing) also helped to grow our bus business, generating over £1m of revenue in less than 12 months.’

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