The Go-Ahead Board is proposing a total dividend for the year of 102.08p per share (2018: 102.08p), consistent with the prior year.
This includes a proposed final payment of 71.91p per share (2018: 71.91p) payable on 22 November 2019 to shareholders registered at the close of business on 1 November 2019. Dividends of £43.8m (2018: £43.8m) paid in the year represent the payment of the prior year's final dividend of 71.91p per share (2018: 71.91p) and the interim dividend in respect of this year of 30.17p per share (2018: 30.17p). Dividends paid to non-controlling interests were £12.7m (2018: £13.9m), and dividend payout was 60% (2018: 56%) on a pre-exceptional earnings basis.
Other financial highlights include:
• Group operating result slightly ahead of expectations
• Good progress made against all three strategic pillars: protect and grow the core; win new bus and rail contracts; develop for the future of transport
• Bus operating profit pre-exceptional items up 4.7% at £95.7m (2018: £91.4m); improvement driven by strong operational performance in London & International division, regional bus achieved highest ever passenger satisfaction score of 92%
• Rail operating profit at £25.4m (2018: £44.5m); prior year included part year of London Midland franchise
• Record punctuality levels in both in GTR and in Southeastern, and improved customer satisfaction of 81% and 80% respectively
• Southeastern rail franchise extended to April 2020
• Four new international contracts won; they started operating their first two German rail contracts and their first bus contract in Ireland
• Improved free cash generation of £74.1m (2018: £57.7m) and balance sheet remains strong