Shares of Newcastle-based bus and rail group Go-Ahead Group rose 14% after it said revenue rose 6.6% to £1.8 billion and profit before tax rose 19% to £79.7 million in the six months to December 30, 2017.
Go-Ahead said its bus division was in line with expectations, showing an operating profit up slightly to £46.6 million.
It said its rail division results were ahead of expectations for the half year, with a reported operating profit of £40.3 million compared to £26.6 million at the same stage of the prior year — but this included “one-off rail benefits.”
Go-Ahead Group CEO David Brown said: “Our bus operations have performed as anticipated and our full year expectations for the division remain unchanged.
“In rail, GTR and Southeastern are trading in line with our expectations, while a better than expected trading performance towards the end of the London Midland franchise, combined with gains realised on the sale of the franchise’s assets, have resulted in an increase in our full year expectations for the rail division …
“Our international strategy has continued with the mobilisation of new contracts in German rail and Dublin bus and bidding for work in all our target markets.
“We have also made progress in line with our strategy to prepare for the future of transport with some new initiatives, such as commercialising our retail and ticketing expertise and making a small investment in a German car-sharing business.
“Our established bus and rail businesses continue to demonstrate the value private companies bring through the delivery of customer-focused public-sector transport services.
“By innovating and adapting our operations, we believe we can protect and grow our core business and by building on our skills and experience in the UK we are able to develop new international businesses and prepare for the future of transport by creating new product offerings for a new set of customers.”