Go-Ahead plans dividend amid robust trading

Newcastle-headquartered international rail and bus giant Go-Ahead Group said on Thursday it continues “to work towards paying a dividend at an appropriate level in the 2021 calendar year.”

The news came as Go-Ahead published a trading update for the year ending July 3, 2021, showing its highest passenger volumes since the start of the pandemic — at currently around 65% to 70% of pre-crisis levels in its “regional” bus business.

The company reported “robust” trading performance across all its divisions with “full year expectations increased for London & International bus division.”

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. Internationally, it operates a bus contract in Singapore and two bus contracts in Ireland.

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.

Go-Ahead CEO David Brown said: “After more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions limiting travel, it is great to see our buses and trains carrying more passengers as these restrictions start to ease and people enjoy the benefits of communities and businesses reopening.

“There are more people using our services today than at any point over the pandemic and we are ready to safely welcome more people back to our buses and trains.

“In recent weeks, we have welcomed the Government’s ‘Bus Back Better’ national bus strategy and the Williams-Shapps Rail Review, putting public transport high on the Government’s agenda.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, public transport has a huge role to play in economic recovery; and an equally important role in tackling climate change as we encourage more people onto our services and away from private cars.

“Go-Ahead is in a strong position, with a central role in the provision of a flexible, reliable and customer-focused public transport network.

“As well as attracting more people to our buses and trains, we are also committed to reducing our own environmental impact and have committed to setting ambitious Science Based Targets, details of which I look forward to sharing in the coming months.”