Bus and train operator in Peterborough sees profits soar

Stagecoach operates 16 bus routes across the Peterborough area.
Stagecoach operates 16 bus routes across the Peterborough area.
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Travel giant Stagecoach, which runs bus and train services through Peterborough, saw profits soar last year.

The company says its pre-tax profits rose to £95.3 million this year despite losing the troubled Virgin East Coast rail franchise - up from £17.9 million last year during which it had seen a £130 million exceptional loss relating to Virgin Trains East Coast but which was not repeated in 2017/18.

However, Stagecoach says its figures this year have taken an £85.6 million hit after Government demanded it hand back the troubled Virgin Trains East Coast rail franchise.

To reflect the loss from its rail operations, the company has reduced its dividend payout to shareholders from 11.9 pence to 7.7 pence.

Over the year to the end of April this year, its revenues dropped 18 per cent to £3.2 billion from £3.9 billion last year. This was due to the South West Trains franchise ending in August 2017 and which lowered annual revenues from that contract by about £700 million.

Stagecoach has extensive operations across the UK, which include 16 bus routes within the Peterborough area on which it carries about nine million customers a year. It also runs East Midland Trains, which delivers more than 470 train services a day.

Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach, said: “I am disappointed to be reporting significant exceptional costs in respect of Virgin Trains East Coast but I am pleased that there is now clarity for both customers and shareholders.

"We have made significant progress elsewhere in our rail portfolio and continue to see value and opportunities.”

The company is enduring pressure on bus use across the country but is optimistic about future growth.

Mr Griffiths said: “While there are challenges to growing bus and coach patronage, we remain positive on the opportunities for growth and further cost efficiencies.

“The pricing and network changes we made across our bus and coach operations, together with our further investment in new vehicles and technology, have broadly delivered the results we expected.”