Tracsis on track as rail franchises on offer

TRANSPORT software group Tracsis is preparing for a surge of work as rail franchises are put up for grabs after a two-year hiatus.

The Leeds-based group yesterday reported six months of surging profits and sales and said it expects trading to improve significantly over the summer as it works on route refranchises.

The group also revealed it has won a contract with New Zealand’s rail authorities to help improve the efficiency of the country’s network in time for the Rugby World Cup later this year.

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Tracsis, which was spun out of the University of Leeds, designs and licences software which covers crew scheduling, crew rostering and performance modelling.

It has also just launched a prototype of a new tool to automate scheduling of rolling stock, which it believes could be prove popular with train operators.

The Department for Transport last week named shortlisted bidders for the West Coast Intercity and Greater Anglia franchises, and reveals the winners this autumn.

Chief executive John McArthur said he is “optimistic the worst of the recessionary pressures have passed”.

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“We will be extremely busy with the franchise bidding,” he said.

“We will be working a lot for the respective bidders of both franchises. The last couple of years there has not been any. The calendar going forward for the next couple of years is packed.”

Tracsis yesterday said sales for the six months to the end of January increased 23 per cent to £1.24m, despite slower-than-expected refranchising. Pre-tax profits grew 69 per cent to £127,000.

Tracsis ended the period with net cash of £2.9m and said it expects to spend some of this on acquisitions over the next few months. It has noticed an increase in the volume and quality of potential targets over the past six months, it added.

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Mr McArthur said the group currently derives about 15 per cent of its revenues from abroad, and the New Zealand consultancy contract is a “good foot in the door” and could lead to software sales.

Tracsis will work with operators KiwiRail and Veolia to maximise New Zealand’s rail network.

Shares in the company were last night unchanged at 48.5p.