Stagecoach is upbeat inspite of profits fall

BUS AND RAIL operator Stagecoach is positive about the next year despite posting a 18 per cent drop in full-year pre-tax profits.

The transport group’s profits fell to £161.3m from £196.4m after the group weathered a difficult year in its rail and North American bus businesses.

In the year ended 30 April, Stagecoach saw its rail profits drop by 25.4 per cent to £41.6m, attributing the decline to a drop off in passenger revenue and a fall in payments to the Department for Transport (DfT).

The group’s North American arm, where it operates its US Megabus business, also took a hit from a decline in the leisure market.

However, management at Stagecoach remain positive about the outlook for the year ahead.

“These are a good set of results and we met the challenges of a difficult trading year. We are now in an excellent position to benefit from the increasing signs of economic recovery,” said Brian Souter, the group’s chief executive.

Souter said the company is looking to further expand its Megabus business in the US and has already added new routes.

Stagecoach, which paid out £77m in dividends, saw a climb in revenue across both its UK bus and rail businesses, while passenger growth remained the highest at its Virgin Trains business, of which it owns 49 per cent.