Tuesday, 14 June 2016

FIRSTGROUP PLC PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR THE YEAR TO 31 MARCH 2016


PRELIMINARY RESULTS FOR THE YEAR TO 31 MARCH 2016

Overview:
 Operating profit maintained despite smaller rail portfolio and challenging trading environment in some
businesses, in line with prior update on fourth quarter trading
 Solid progress made in the year to position the Group for future growth and higher returns
 Contract portfolio enhanced with TransPennine Express rail award and other wins across the Group
 Wolfhart Hauser appointed as Chairman and Matthew Gregory joined as CFO in the year
 Continued disciplined bidding and cost efficiencies, as well as lower fuel costs and additional First
Student operating days expected to result in strong progress for the Group in the year ahead
 Significantly increased cash generation expected in 2016/17
Financial summary 2015/16:
 Underlying1 revenue broadly flat. Reported revenue decreased by 13.8% due to changes in rail portfolio
 Adjusted2 operating profit in line with prior year, and adjusted2 EPS increased by 5.1%
 Statutory operating profit and EPS increased by 0.2% and 21.0% respectively
 Net cash inflow for the year (before end of rail franchise outflows) was ahead of expectations at £36.0m
 Net debt:EBITDA flat at 2.3 times


Commenting, Chief Executive Tim O'Toole said:

"Overall we have made encouraging progress this year toward a profile of more consistent financial returns for the Group. As we indicated at the start of the year, a smaller rail franchise portfolio and fewer operating days in our school bus business were factors that would make delivering headline growth this year challenging. However, by being flexible with our plans we have delivered a comparable adjusted operating profit to last year and a net cash inflow ahead of our expectations.

"The Group expects to make strong progress in the year ahead despite a challenging trading environment in several of our markets. This will come from our continued focus on disciplined contract bidding and rigorous cost efficiency programmes, as well as lower fuel costs and more First Student operating days compared with the year just ended. Following several years of reinvestment we expect to deliver a significant increase in net cash generation. Overall, we expect the considerable efforts of our people in recent years to be reflected in a significant improvement in our profile of sustainable returns and cash generation going forward"

Full report and comments here

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