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UK transport firm Go-Ahead sees lower annual financial performance from regional buses

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British transport company Go-Ahead Group on Thursday slightly lowered its expectations for its regional bus division's annual financial performance, as it works to integrate a new Manchester bus company and faces cost pressures

[BENGALURU] British transport company Go-Ahead Group on Thursday slightly lowered its expectations for its regional bus division's annual financial performance, as it works to integrate a new Manchester bus company and faces cost pressures.

The company, which faces a threat from the Labour Party's plan to nationalise the rail industry, said it had seen driver and engineering costs rise in its regional bus unit and was working to lower expenses and address underperforming areas of the business.

Go-Ahead, which operates bus services in the UK, Ireland and Singapore, said this would result in one-off restructuring costs in the first half of the year.

The company, with a fleet of nearly 6,000 buses and about 23 per cent share of London's busy bus market, said it had withdrawn its X90 Oxford to London coach service as the competitive environment prevented it from making enough money.

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Like-for-like revenue from the start of the financial year rose about 2.5 per cent in the regional bus unit, while Go-Ahead's London and international buses clocked growth of about 8 per cent.

Go-Ahead said its overall expectations for the current financial year remain unchanged across its rail business, with good performance in its British operations offsetting the impact of a painful start to its first two contracts in Germany.

The company's rail business has suffered setbacks from the loss of the London Midland franchise and the termination of the new South Eastern franchise competition.

Labour plans to reverse privatisations begun by former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s and wants to nationalise the rail industry. The party says this will allow fares to be capped, improve reliability of services and provide free Wi-Fi across the network.

REUTERS