Strong UK train showing buoys Stagecoach

City A.M. Reporter
TRANSPORT group Stagecoach said it had traded well in its first half due to a strong performance from its British rail and US bus businesses.

The Perth-based company yesterday said like-for-like revenues at its British rail unit rose 7.9 per cent in the 24 weeks to 14 October, while sales at its North America coach business, which includes Megabus, rose 10.7 per cent.

Its British regional bus division reported a 3.6 per cent sales uplift during the period, but its London bus arm posted revenues down 0.9 per cent after it dropped some contracts as part of a restructuring effort.

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 Trains, jointly owned by Stagecoach and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, was last month stripped of the West Coast Mainline franchise, which runs from London to Scotland, after the Department for Transport (DfT) awarded the 13 year franchise to rival FirstGroup.

However, the DfT has since asked Virgin and Stagecoach to continue operating the service for up to 13 months from December, while it revamps Britain’s rail franchising process.

“The group welcomes the opportunity to participate in these reviews where appropriate,” Stagecoach said.