Stagecoach chief executive to stand down

City A.M. Reporter
Stagecoach chief executive Brian Souter will stand down and become the company's chairman in May 2013, replacing George Mathewson who is retiring.

The transport group also said it had traded well in its first quarter due to a strong performance from its British rail and US bus businesses.

The Scotland-based company today said like-for-like revenues at its British rail unit rose 6.8 per cent in the 12 weeks to 22 July, while sales at its North America coach business, which includes Megabus, rose 10.4 per cent.

Its British regional bus division reported a 4.1 per cent sales uplift during the period but its London bus business posted revenues down 5.7 per cent after it dropped some contracts as part of a restructuring drive.

Stagecoach said the overall profitability of the group had remained good, and that there had been no significant change to its annual pre-tax profit forecasts.

Virgin Rail, jointly owned by Stagecoach and Richard Branson's Virgin Group, was last week stripped of the West Coast Mainline franchise, which runs from London to Scotland, after the Department for Transport awarded the 13 year franchise to rival FirstGroup.

Stagecoach, which transports some 2.5 million passengers a day, is however shortlisted for Britain's Greater Western and Thameslink rail franchises.