HALF-YEARLY RESULTS FOR THE SIX MONTHS TO 30 SEPTEMBER 2017
- Overall trading for the Group in the first half was consistent with plans outlined at start of the financial year
- Strong cash performance in addition to inflows from recent start of South Western Railway (‘SWR’)
- Group revenue +8.1% including new SWR rail franchise from 20 August and favourable foreign exchange; excluding these, Group revenue was +0.9%
First Rail like-for-like6 passenger revenue +3.2% and cost efficiencies contributed to an increased margin; SWR franchise commenced towards end of period.
- Our overall trading and cash performance in first half, excluding the short term impact of the severe hurricanes, affirms our confidence that the Group will make further progress and deliver substantial cash generation for the full year
Commenting, Chief Executive Tim O’Toole said:
“The overall trading performance and significantly increased free cash generation of the Group in the first half was consistent with the plans we outlined at the start of the financial year. Solid performances from most of our businesses are partially obscured by the impact of the recent severe hurricane on our operations in Puerto Rico. In the second half we will benefit from our normal seasonal bias, our ongoing focus on cost efficiencies and from additional business which commenced in the period, including the South Western Railway franchise. We expect to make further progress and deliver substantial free cash generation for the year as a whole.”
Chief Executive’s report:
First Rail revenues increased significantly, reflecting the inclusion of the South Western Railway franchise for the first time as well as passenger revenue growth in our pre-existing businesses. Our plans for each of our franchises are based on improving the experiences of our passengers through fleet upgrades, timetable improvements and performance enhancements, though some of these are reliant on infrastructure upgrades managed by our industry partners, particularly in GWR, which are progressing at a slower pace than originally envisaged.
In the second half we will benefit from our normal seasonal bias, our ongoing focus on cost efficiencies and from additional business which commenced in the period. Notwithstanding some of the challenges faced in the first half, we expect to make further progress over the full year, while our cash performance so far affirms our confidence in generating substantial free cash flow for the year as a whole.
Last Thursday marked one year since the fatal derailment of a tram we operate on behalf of Transport for London in Croydon, a tragedy which continues to weigh heavily on us. We continue to provide our full support to the ongoing investigations into the incident, as it is absolutely essential that the reasons for the derailment are established.
Tim O’Toole,Chief Executive