Go Ahead on track for Â£100m profit
Newcastle-headquartered Go-Ahead Group remains on course to achieve operating profit of £100m by 2015/16, according to its chief executive.
David Brown said trading in the first quarter (from 29 June to 27 September 2014) had been "robust" at the travel operator, and described it as a "busy period" for its rail business.
The company's rail division operates the Southern (including Gatwick Express), Southeastern, London Midland and GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) franchises through its 65 per cent owned subsidiary Govia.
Southeastern delivered a "strong trading performance", with underlying revenue growth of about 8.5 per cent.
The London Midland franchise, however, was "severely affected" by engineering works, although this had no impact on profit but has resulted in "lower than expected" revenue.
The regional bus service achieved "good growth in revenue", which was largely driven by increased contract revenue. Commercial and concessionary passenger numbers were "broadly flat year-on-year", with weakness in the North East.
"Delivering excellent levels of customer service is important to us and I'm proud our bus division achieved its highest ever satisfaction score of 92 per cent," said Brown.
"Even at these levels, there is always room for improvement and we will continue to listen to customers and local community groups to keep on improving our services."
A statement in the trading update read: "The group remains in a good financial position with strong cash generation and a robust balance sheet, supporting our progressive dividend policy and allowing flexibility to pursue value-adding opportunities both within and outside our traditional markets.
"We continue to focus on our key strengths of providing high quality, locally-focused transport services."