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24 Sep 2020 | 09:02

Go-Ahead profit slightly better than guidance

(Sharecast News) - Go-Ahead predicted profit at its London and international bus division would be little changed as the transport operator reported group profit slightly better than its expectations. Pre tax profit for the year to the end of June fell to £3.8m from £97m a year earlier as revenue rose to £3.9bn from £3.7bn under the IAS 17 accounting measure.

Go-Ahead took exceptional charges of £57.1m for impaired assets and restructuring at its regional bus and German rail operations, which were hit hard by the pandemic. Operating profit before exceptional items fell to £68.2m from £121.1m.

Regional bus operating profit more than halved to £20.5m from £44.5m as passenger numbers fell and restrictions were imposed during the crisis. Government support meant the business broke even since March.

London and international bus profit fell to £48.5m from £51.2m with revenue protected by contracts. Go-Ahead said it expected profit to similar this year.

Rail operating profit fell to £8.9m from £25.4m and was affected by problems at the German rail business. German rail contracts were not hit hard by the crisis but the business suffered from delayed train deliveries and driver shortages. The rain division should break even this year, Go-Ahead said.

Chief Executive David Brown 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.

"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 per cent of normal passenger numbers, enabling us to contribute to economic recovery while supporting social distancing requirements."

Go-Ahead said its underlying business was generating cash and that cash and unused facilities had increased to about £240m now from £230m at the end of June.

The company's shares rose 1.7% to 645.5p. The shares are worth less than a third of their £22.08 value at the start of 2020.

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