Transport operator National Express said that cost reductions had helped it return to the black in the first half of 2021 despite continuing Covid-19 restrictions.
Although revenue was slightly down on last year, the FTSE 250 firm said that underlying operating profit came in at £22.9m for the period, up from a £30.6m loss in the same half in 2020.
The firm said that this was largely due to the £100m in cost savings set out in last year’s full year results.
That came after a year in which National Express saw the imposition of coronavirus restrictions batter demand for public transport.
Although the bus company said that its focus was on returning to pre-Covid levels of operation, it added that it saw “significant opportunities” across all its markets.
It cited the new £3bn National Bus Strategy in the UK, as well as Joe Biden’s $1.2bn infrastructure plan and €750m earmarked for Spain under the EU’s national recovery fund, as potential areas for further growth.
Chief executive Ignacio Garat said: “It is pleasing to see the continued improving performance trajectory across the group over the first half of the year, despite ongoing Covid restrictions and I’m delighted to report a return to positive Underlying Operating Profit and free cash flow in the period.
“We are completing work on the business review and it is clear that we have significant profitable growth opportunities ahead. I look forward to communicating our findings and priorities in the autumn.”