Date: Wednesday 11 Dec 2013
Transport group Stagecoach said half-year earnings improved after a good performance from UK bus and rail and North America, adding that it is well placed for future trading.
Pre-tax profit rose 1.1% to £105.6m for the six months ended October 31st from £104.4m the same time a year earlier. Revenue increased 7% to £1.5bn during the period from £1.4bn before.
Commenting on the results, Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said: "Our bus and rail services in the UK and North America are performing well. In the UK, our sector-leading regional bus services have gone from strength to strength, despite lower public spending and austerity measures.
"We are positive about the outlook for the rail sector in the UK where the franchising programme is again moving. There is a pipeline of new opportunities in addition to the planned extensions to the duration of the rail franchises."
Stagecoach added that it saw significant potential to expand its Megabus branded services in the US, where it already operates in 40 states.
Net debt was reduced by £43.4m to £494.6m during the period.
"Stagecoach has made a good start to the 2013/14 financial year. Trading for the year to date is in line with our expectations and the group remains in a strong financial position," it said.
An interim dividend of 2.9p per share has been offered, up 11.5% from last time.
Security X-ray scanning specialist Image Scan disappointed as it published an annual loss and reduced revenues.
Shares in the company were down 20% on news that although order intake was up 32%, revenues fell 42% to £2.5m in the year to September 30th, leading to a £0.3m loss before tax.
Chairman Brian Emslie said: "Having operated at break-even in four of the last five half-year periods, it is disappointing to report a loss for 2013.
“Much of the loss derived from exceptional costs relating to a one-off contract that was taken three years ago in very difficult economic conditions when the company was in need of additional revenue.”
Image Scan has tried to reposition itself away from one-off sales and towards broadening the product base of standard equipment, with an approximate 20% saving flowing through into the last quarter of the financial year and profitability restored in the second half of the year.
Said Emslie: “Having stabilised the company, the board is now considering what actions and investments need to take place for the company to make a significant step-change."
or share it with one of these popular networks:
You are here: news