Half year results 2021 for the six months ended 2 January 2021
Three priorities unchanged through the pandemic: to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers; to play our role in society; and to protect our business
Resilient performance against a challenging backdrop with Group adjusted operating profit* of £56.1m (H1’20: £60.0m)
Regional bus operating profit* of £12.3m (H1’20: £19.1m) – impact of COVID-19 on passenger revenue mitigated by the Government’s support for maintaining bus services
London & International bus operating profit of £37.3m (H1’20: £26.2m) – stronger year on year performance largely due to a short-term non-cash benefit due to the timing of recognition of Quality Incentive Contract (QIC) income
Rail operating profit* of £6.5m (H1’20: £14.7m) – material cost savings offset reduction in profit from current rail contracts. Year on year movement reflects non-recurrence of prior year benefit from close out of old franchises.
Our financial expectations for the full year have increased reflecting the short-term benefit relating to the timing of QICs recognition in London & International bus
German rail operations in Baden-Württemberg performing well and in line with improvement plan. A detailed review of contracts in Bavaria, currently mobilising to commence operation in December 2021 and December 2022, has resulted in an onerous contract provision increase of £25.9m in the period
Group continues to demonstrate strong fundamentals
90 per cent of revenues secured through contracts with no revenue risk from changes in passenger demand
Operations remain cash generative and liquidity is strong with £250.8m of unutilised facilities and unrestricted cash at the half year end
Adjusted net debt to EBITDA of 1.87x**, comfortably within target range of 1.5 to 2.5x and well below 3.5x bank covenant
Maintained stable investment grade credit ratings
Board continues to work towards paying a dividend at an appropriate level in the 2021 calendar year
ESG is embedded in our business model, strategy and culture
Environmental credentials recognised by CDP with score uplifted to A-; continue to lead the industry with largest zero emission bus and train fleets in the UK
Progress made in increasing gender diversity; gender-equal Board and the number of senior management roles held by women is up from 16% to 21%
Industry leading corporate governance acknowledge by Britain’s Most Admired Companies survey scoring 7.0 out of 10, compared with a bus and rail average (excluding Go-Ahead) of 5.0
Public transport remains critical to environmental sustainability, economic recovery, the delivery of health and wellbeing outcomes, and keeping communities connected
* Before exceptional charges of £20.7m in rail and £0.3m in regional bus. Details are provided in note 5 to the financial statements.
** On a pre-IFRS 16 basis, in line with bank covenants.
Adjusted operating profit (£m)
Adjusted profit before tax (£m)
Adjusted basic earnings per share (p)
Statutory operating profit (£m)
Statutory profit before tax (£m)
Statutory basic earnings per share (p)
Adjusted measures are presented on a pre-exceptional item basis
* Restated (see note 2)
Under IFRS 16
Impact of IFRS 16
Under IAS 17
Under IFRS 16
Impact of IFRS 16
Under IAS 17
Cashflow generated from operations (excluding restricted cash) (£m)
Free cashflow (£m)
Adjusted net debt (£m)^
Adjusted net debt/EBITDA^
^ Adjusted net debt excludes restricted cash. Bank covenants continue to be assessed under IAS 17
David Brown, Group Chief Executive, commented:
“As we continue to deal with the challenges of the pandemic, my thoughts are with those impacted by COVID-19, particularly the families and friends of colleagues who have lost their lives.
“I would like to thank all my colleagues for their hard work in ensuring people can travel safely to work, hospitals, schools and make other essential journeys. They have all played a key role keeping buses and trains running throughout this crisis.
“We are pleased to be supporting the vaccination roll-out in our communities by operating dedicated shuttle services to vaccination centres, transforming buses into mobile centres, and providing free parking in our train station car parks for people travelling to appointments.
“As the economy opens throughout the spring, we expect to see passengers return, with evidence of pent up demand for leisure journeys, including high levels of staycations. Prior to the second lockdown, our regional bus services were up to 60 per cent of normal passenger journeys, and while demand patterns across the day may be different, we anticipate a desire to return to city centres for work and leisure.
“Public transport plays a vital role in the economic recovery by providing access to jobs and education. It is also integral to the Government’s Net Zero ambitions, to improving air quality, and to improving public health, especially in combination with active travel. We expect to see this reflected in the forthcoming National Bus Strategy.
“Private operators are uniquely placed to deliver the passenger growth, innovation and efficiency that customers, communities and the Government want to see as we emerge from the pandemic. The agility and collaboration demonstrated throughout the past 12 months is further evidence of the vital role we play in our communities.”
For further information please contact:
The Go-Ahead Group
Holly Gillis, Head of Investor Relations
077 6630 5594
078 9696 8971
David Brown, Group Chief Executive, and Elodie Brian, Group Chief Financial Officer, will be hosting a Q&A conference call for investors and analysts at 09.00 today, please contact email@example.com for details.
A video webcast of the presentation is available on Go-Ahead’s website from 07.00 today; www.go-ahead.com.
Certain statements included in this press release contain forward-looking information concerning the Group’s strategy, operations, financial performance or condition, outlook, growth opportunities or circumstances in the sectors or markets in which the Group operates. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve uncertainty because they depend of future circumstances, and relate to events, not all of which are within the Group’s control or can be produced by the Group. Although the Group believes that the expectations reflected in such forward–looking statements are reasonable, no assurance can be given that such expectations will prove to have been correct. Nothing in this press release should be construed as a profit forecast and no part of these results constitutes, or shall be taken to constitute, an invitation or inducement to invest in The Go-Ahead Group plc or any other entity, and must not be relied upon in any way in connection with any investment decision. Except as required by law, the Group undertakes no obligation to update any forward looking statement.