Go-Ahead sees profit growth in train travel

TRANSPORT group Go-Ahead said yesterday that it expects first-half operating profit to nudge ahead of its expectations, driven by its rail unit, but will not move its full-year targets given the economic uncertainty.

The company, which operates commuter rail franchises including Southeastern and London Midland, said yesterday its bus division is expected to remain robust, with second-half revenue in its unregulated businesses returning to last year’s levels.

However, revenue in its regulated London bus services is likely to be around seven per cent below last year due to lower contract prices.

Turnover in its rail unit Southern is expected to be around six per cent higher than last year due to a four per cent growth in passenger journeys.

“We continue to anticipate challenging economic conditions in the near term and therefore believe it is prudent to maintain our full-year expectations as previously reported,” it said in a statement.

Go-Ahead also said that it continues to look for bolt-on acquisitions in the UK and will continue its cautious expansion in North America.

Shares closed up 5.5 per cent at £12.80 yesterday.