Go-Ahead Group Reports Record Passenger Levels

LONDON -- Go-Ahead Group (ISE: GOG.L) -- which runs the busiest rail operation in the U.K. (under its Southern, Southeastern and London Midland franchises) and is also the largest bus operator in London (via its services for TfL) -- is currently up close to 1.5% on release of its full-year results.

The group reported its highest ever passenger levels across both bus and rail, with revenue up 5.5% on last year, at £2,423.8 million. Operating profit was lower, down 4.2% at £110.2 million, but if one-off rail contract management benefits are excluded, underlying operating profit was up £8.1 million.

Pre-tax profit was down 0.4% to £84.5 million, but adjusted earnings per share was up 5%, to 141.9 pence, with the increase being primarily due to a reduction in the effective tax rate to 21.3%, compared to 2011's 26.2%.

David Brown, group chief executive, commented:

Over the last year, Go-Ahead has made significant progress in building a stronger Group and delivering on our strategic goals. Most recently, I am really proud of the key role our staff played in helping to deliver a highly successful transport network for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Against a challenging economic backdrop, we have continued to drive growth across our bus and rail companies and carried a record number of passengers on our services. The year also saw the Group's largest ever investment in our bus fleet and the roll-out of "the key" smartcard across our bus operations outside London.

Despite the challenges facing the economy, the new financial year has started well and trading is in line with the Board's expectations. We operate in a market that has many fundamental strengths and we are well placed to benefit from the growing need for a sustainable and efficient public transport system.

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