East Anglia: ‘Resilient’ start to 2013 for bus and train group Go-Ahead

Go-Ahead group chief executgive David Brown

Go-Ahead group chief executgive David Brown - Credit: Archant

BUS and train operator Go-Ahead today reported a “resilient” performance during the opening months of 2013.

Go-Ahead, which established a major presence in East Anglia last year with the acquisitions of Colchester-based Hedingham Omnibuses, Anglian Bus, based in Beccles, and H C Chambers & Son, based in Bures, near Sudbury, said its expectations for the full year remained unchanged.

Revenue from the group’s non-regulated bus operations outside London is now up 9% on a year-to-date basis, from July 1 to March 30, with passenger numbers up 4%. Excluding acquisitions, revenue is 4.5% ahead and passenger numbers 1% higher.

On the group’s regulated bus services within London, revenue is 15% up in total and 8% higher excluding acquisitions, with estimated underlying growth of 13% and 6% respectively stripping out the effect of the Olympics.

The group’s rail franchises, operated through its 65%-owned subsidiary Govia, also recorded solid revenue growth, with London Midland up 12%, Southeastern 9% and Southern 4%.

Looking ahead, the group added: “Overall, trading in the year to date has been resilient and we remain confident that we will deliver a full year result in line with out expectations.

“The group remains in a good financial position with strong cash generation and a robust balance sheet, underpinning the divident policy and allowing flexibility to pursue value-adding opportunities.

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“We continue to focus on our key strengths of providing high quality, locally-focused and innovative transport services.”

Group chief executive David Brown said: “I am pleased to report a resilient performance across our operations, with all of our companies seeing growth in commercial revenue in the year to date.

“Our bus division continues to perform well in a challenging economic environment and we remain on track to achieve our target to organically grow bus operating profit to £100m by 2015/16.

“Our growth trends are sector leading driven by our high quality, locally-focused operations and our London bus business remains best in class.

“We are delighted to have been shortlisted to bid for the Docklands Light Railway, partnering with Colas Rail Ltd. They are an ideal infrastructure partner for us and, combined with our experience of operating in London on busy commuter networks, I believe we are well placed to deliver a successful bid.

“At the end of March the DfT announced its long-term plans for rail franchising. I am pleased that the Government intends to restart the Thameslink franchise bid process in September this year and I welcome the opportunity to agree extended contract terms for London Midland to June 2017 and Southeastern to June 2018.

“Overall, I am pleased with the group’s performance and remain confident that we will deliver a full year result in line with our expectations.”