FIRSTGROUP PLC HALF-YEARLY RESULTS TO 30 SEPTEMBER 2012
FirstGroup plc ("FirstGroup" or "the Group") is the leading transport operator in the UK and North America. With approximately 124,000 employees we carry 2.5
billion passengers every year across our bus and rail networks in the UK and our school bus, transit and intercity coach operations in the US and Canada.
- Overall Group trading during the first half of the year is in line with our expectations, despite continued economic uncertainty. As previously indicated, the results reflect the anticipated reductions in operating profit for UK Bus, where we are taking action to reposition the business and restore growth, and in UK Rail as a result of the transition to the three year extension period in First TransPennine Express.
- We are focused on our goals of improved performance and sustainable growth across the Group and are confident that our actions will create a stronger business for the future. While there is still more to do, we are pleased with the progress of the actions we have taken so far.
- The Department for Transport (DfT) has cancelled the InterCity West Coast competition, in which FirstGroup had been chosen as the winning bidder, and has paused the current rail franchise competitions. As a result of the uncertainty this creates, the Board has decided to hold the interim dividend at last year's level, and will consider the appropriate level for the full year dividend in May 2013. By that time, the prospects for our UK Rail division are expected to be clearer, following independent reviews into the cancellation of the West Coast competition and the future of franchising.
- As the UK's largest and most successful rail operator, we remain committed to maintaining our leading position in the rail market and are actively engaging with the ongoing reviews to help shape the future of franchising.