Newcastle’s Go-Ahead sees H1 revenue top £2bn

Shares of Newcastle-headquartered international rail and bus giant Go-Ahead Group rose about 5% on Thursday after it published half year results for the six months ended January 2, 2021, showing its revenue rose £62.9 million or 3.1% to £2.07 billion.

“This increase was primarily attributable to the commencement of operations in our international rail franchises, partially offset by the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the group,” said Go-Ahead.

Pre-tax profit fell to £24.6 million from £49 million for the same period of the prior year.

Go-Ahead employs around 30,000 people and is one of the UK’s largest bus operators, with a strong presence in London.

Outside London, it serves the North East, Greater Manchester, East Yorkshire, East Anglia, South East and South West England.

Go-Ahead’s rail division operates in the UK, Germany and Norway.

In the UK, Southeastern and GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) operate through its 65% owned subsidiary Govia, which is 35% owned by Keolis.

It is the largest rail operation in the UK, responsible for around 30% of all UK passenger rail journeys through its rail franchises.

Go-Ahead Group CEO David Brown said: “As the economy opens throughout the spring, we expect to see passengers return, with evidence of pent up demand for leisure journeys, including high levels of staycations.

“Prior to the second lockdown, our regional bus services were up to 60 per cent of normal passenger journeys, and while demand patterns across the day may be different, we anticipate a desire to return to city centres for work and leisure.

“Public transport plays a vital role in the economic recovery by providing access to jobs and education.

“It is also integral to the Government’s Net Zero ambitions, to improving air quality, and to improving public health, especially in combination with active travel.

“We expect to see this reflected in the forthcoming National Bus Strategy.

“Private operators are uniquely placed to deliver the passenger growth, innovation and efficiency that customers, communities and the Government want to see as we emerge from the pandemic.

“The agility and collaboration demonstrated throughout the past 12 months is further evidence of the vital role we play in our communities.”