Profits up at First

Profits up at First Profits up at First
Underlying operating profit at FirstGroup for the six months to 30 September was up by 10,1 per cent over the same period last year at £109,9million (2012: £99.8million), reflecting reductions in UK Bus and Greyhound profits being offset by higher profits in First Student and UK Rail. Group margins increased, with improvements in First Student, First Transit and UK Rail more than offsetting declines in Greyhound and UK Bus margins.

Group revenue was up 1.6 per cent at £3,300.7million (2012: £3,250.0million), and operating margin was up slightly at 3.3 per cent (2012: 3.1 per cent). The UK Bus division revenue was £490.7million (2012: £572.9million) which produced an operating profit of £17.3million (2012: £21.0million). This follows First’s withdrawal from London and retrenchment elsewhere.

First says it remains confident that the trends toward increased urbanisation and greater congestion will generate significant opportunities for its business, and that it is returning to the strength necessary to drive sustainable, long term growth.