finance

Stagecoach reports £32.9 million operating profit



Stagecoach has reported an increase in its operating profit from from £16.1m to £32.9m year-on-year.

The transport groups’ latest trading update covered the first half of the financial year, ending 30 October, with revenue growing from £454.6m to £579.4m during the period, excluding grant income from the government for support during the pandemic.

The statement noted that the growth in revenue reflected the recovering passenger demand across its bus and tram services.

Adjusted earnings per share were 2.7p, reflecting the higher adjusted operating profit partly offset by changes in UK corporation tax.

The company confirmed that due to pandemic pressures, interim dividends will not be restored yet.

The trading update also noted that it is still in discussion with National Express over a possible all-shares combination of both groups.

“In line with previous guidance and dependent on progress on the National Express transaction, it is our ambition to resume dividend payments in due course when supported by appropriate profit and cash flow generation, relative to our net debt and pension liabilities,” read the report.

During the period, Stagecoach won new contracts linked to events such as the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, while retaining existing rail replacement contracts.

Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach group’s chief executive, said: “We are pleased at the positive progress of the business as confidence in public transport returns and more customers use our bus, coach and tram services.

“This has been achieved as a result of the fantastic commitment of our frontline employees and management teams, combined with our strong partnerships with national and local government, and supportive public policy and investment.

“While the pace of recovery may vary, we are well-placed to deliver on the extensive opportunities beyond the pandemic and on the back of the COP26 climate change conference to attract people out of cars to more sustainable public transport.

“We are also continuing to effectively manage the short-term operational challenges in the transport and logistics sector, to protect the future of our transport networks.”

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