Go-Ahead revenue £4bn as it seeks to restore shares

Newcastle-headquartered bus and rail giant Go-Ahead Group has belatedly reported that its revenue for the year to July 3, 2021, grew 4.1% to £4.058 billion and it narrowed its statutory loss before tax to £6.9 million from a loss of £39.5 million the previous year.

Adjusted profit before tax rose 79.3% to 97.2 million.

Go-Ahead Group delayed the publishing of its results and temporarily suspended trading in its shares and its bonds after being stripped of the London & South Eastern Railway (LSER).

“The board has applied to the FCA for the restoration of the group’s shares and bonds to the premium listing segment of the official list of the FCA and to trading on the London Stock Exchange,” said Go-Ahead.

The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) announced on September 28 last year that the Operator of Last Resort would take over the running of Go-Ahead’s London & South Eastern Railway (LSER) services from October 17.

The DfT said the decision followed “an investigation which identifies over £25 million of taxpayer money was not declared by LSER, amounting to a significant breach of the franchise agreement, undermining trust.”

Go-Ahead Group said on Thursday it had a strong financial performance in bus and GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) “overshadowed by matters relating to London & South Eastern Railway (LSER) and challenges in international rail.”

On the financial implications relating to LSER, Go-Ahead Group said amounts totalling £51.3 million, including the previously disclosed £25 million, have been identified by an independent review as being due to the DfT — £49.2 million of which has been paid by LSER to the DfT.

The company said “other commercial negotiations with the DfT are ongoing “with an estimated additional liability of £21.3 million.

Go-Ahead Group also said it is recognising a provision of £30 million for a potential financial penalty from the DfT.

Go-Ahead Group CEO Christian Schreyer said: “It’s been a very challenging year for Go-Ahead and our shareholders, for which I apologise, on behalf of the board.

“I’m pleased to be publishing these results today and I am looking firmly to the future with optimism.

“The Group’s operating performance is strong and we are seeing a reassuring recovery in passenger volumes across bus and rail following the impacts of COVID-19 with our trading expectations for 2022 unchanged.

“In relation to London & South Eastern Railway, we are optimistic that the outstanding matters will soon be settled with the DfT.

“In International Rail, I am confident that we have the right team in place to address the challenging contractual situations we face in those markets.

“In my 25 year career in public transport and mobility services, I have never been so proud to be part of the industry as throughout the pandemic.

“Transport workers all over the world stepped up and kept vital services moving at a time when much of the world appeared to stop.

“Go-Ahead’s 27,000 people have demonstrated incredible resilience and commitment through this period, and I have great confidence in my teams around the world to support the next exciting phase for the group.

“We see significant opportunities ahead as public transport benefits from trends towards lower carbon travel, urbanisation, digitalisation and demographic change.

“I look forward to announcing the conclusions of my business review in the coming weeks.”