Stagecoach Maintains Full-Year Earnings Forecast

Stagecoach (SGC.L), one of the UK’s biggest bus, coach, and rail operators, said early on Wednesday that it was maintaining its full-year earnings expectations for fiscal 2020 even as it completed the sale of its North America business and decided not to bid for any new UK rail franchises.

The firm, which began as a transport start-up nearly 40 years ago and currently employs 27,000 people, said in a statement that it is now focused on driving long-term profit growth from its UK bus business, which includes the launch of the first of two “sector-leading” autonomous bus trials.

Stagecoach’s sales from continuing operations fell to 1.88 billion pounds ($2.39 billion) during that 12 months that ended April 27, from 2.82 billion pounds a year ago, with the group attributing the decline to the end of the South West Trains franchise in August 2017 and the Virgin Trains East Coast franchise in June 2018.

Total operating profit from continuing operations but before exceptional items and non-software intangible asset amortization, however, rose marginally to 161.3 million pounds from a restated 159.7 million pounds a year earlier. The full-year dividend has been maintained in line with a year ago.

Stagecoach, whose Deputy Chairman Will Whitehorn will step down at the end of this month, said its involvement in the UK franchised train operations will end by November 2019. “We have therefore reshaped our management structure and reduced overheads to reflect the scope of the business.”

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