UK rail division gives a boost to Stagecoach

City A.M. Reporter
STAGECOACH yesterday reported growth in its rail business, which includes London commuter franchise South West trains.

The FTSE 250 transport company gave an upbeat forecast for 2012 across its businesses.

Stagecoach said that its like-for-like sales across its UK rail operations had risen by 8.8 per cent in the 48 weeks to 1 April. Its regional UK bus business posted a 2.7 per cent increase in like-for-like sales – weaker than rail.

That mirrored rival FirstGroup which said last month that lower economic activity, particularly in Scotland and the North of England, had taken its toll on its bus division.

However, Stagecoach’s North America bus operations posted a 14 per cent jump in like-for-like sales. The US market has been a bright spot for UK transport operators. National Express Group also reported a five per cent increase in North America revenue last month while FirstGroup said its US school bus and Greyhound operations continued to perform well.

The company said: “Overall current trading remains good. We believe the prospects for the group remain positive and that each wholly owned divisions remain well placed to at least maintain their level of operating profit in the year to 30 April 2013.”