Southern rail owner apologises to commuters as it reports 27 per cent profit growth

William Turvill
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Go-Ahead Group owns 65 per cent of Govia, which operates Southern (Source: Getty)

Southern Rail stakeholder Go-Ahead Group has apologised to customers for a disrupted service as it reported a 27 per cent growth in pre-tax profits.

The results came at the end of a summer filled with disruptions for users of Southern rail. Go-Ahead shares rocketed more than seven per cent on Friday morning.

The figures

Go-Ahead has reported a statutory pre-tax profit for the year ending 2 July of £99.8m – up from £78.7m in 2015.

Revenue came in at £3.36bn, up 4.5 per cent year-on-year from £3.22bn.

The company also announced a proposed dividend of 95.85p, up 6.5 per cent from 90p in 2015.

Read more: Southern rail to fork out hefty passenger payouts amid major disruption

Why it’s interesting

Go-Ahead owns 65 per cent of Govia, which is a joint venture with France’s Keolis and operates Southern as part of Govia Thameslink Railway.

It’s been quite a summer for Southern, with the busy commuter service beset by delays, cancellations and strikes in a long-running dispute over the role of guards.

Earlier this week, City A.M. revealed Southern has been forced to overhaul the way it compensates passengers affected by poor services. Southern’s customers are entitled to apply for compensation for delays to their journeys greater than 30 minutes but, in the past, few have done so.

Southern Rail has committed to automatically refund delayed commuters from 2017.

“Next year – we’ll be introducing automatic refunds for people using our new smartcard,” said a Southern Rail spokesperson. “We have employed more people and introduced new systems to keep on top of passenger delay payments.”

Read more: Southern Rail restores 119 services of the 341 cancelled in July

What the company said

Group chief executive David Brown:

During this period of change, Southern services have been disrupted by restricted network capacity, strike action and increased levels of absence. We apologise to the people whose lives have been affected during this time. We continue to work closely with the DfT, Network Rail and other suppliers and partners to operate the best service possible while delivering the long term improvements.

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