Friday, 25 February 2022

Delayed Go-Ahead Results Finally Announced Followed by Listing of Shares Again

Go-Ahead Group has reported a "strong" financial performance in its bus and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operations in its much-delayed full-year results published yesterday, offset by challenges in its international rail division and its former Southeastern rail franchise.

It recorded an adjusted operating profit of £115.5m for the 12 months ended 3 July 2021, up from a restated £76.4m for 2020, as its statutory loss before tax narrowed to £6.9m from a restated £39.5m.

Go-Ahead were stripped of the Southeastern Rail franchise

The London-listed passenger transport operator was stripped of the Southeastern rail operation in October after an investigation into £25m of unaccounted-for taxpayer funding.

The company revealed they expect to pay the government £51.3m over its failures in running the service, which was taken away last year, and has put aside £30m for a possible fine. Around £49.2m has already been paid.

It retains the GTR operation, which operates Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink services in London and the south east. Bus services are operated in England, Ireland and Singapore.

Go-Ahead said it maintained a "strong" balance sheet reflecting "prudent" financial management throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with an adjusted net debt-to-EBITDA ratio of 1.56x at year-end on 3 July.

In the results now published it recorded a number of exceptional items for international rail, with onerous contract and asset impairment provisions of £76.9m recognised in Norway, and its previous provision in Germany increased to £36.6m and restated in the prior year.

A new group chief executive officer, Christian Schreyer, joined in November, with additional senior management appointments made.

"It's been a very challenging year for Go-Ahead and our shareholders, for which I apologise, on behalf of the board," said Schreyer.

"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."

Christian Schreyer said that in relation to the former Southeastern franchise, the company was "optimistic" that the outstanding matters would soon be settled with the Department for Transport.

"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.

"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."

In June 2018, Go-Ahead acquired East Yorkshire Motor Services

Following the publishing of the delayed results yesterday, it was later announced by Financial Conduct Authority that the suspension of trading in Go-Ahead shares had been lifted.