Record number of passengers help trigger dividend hike at Go-Ahead

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BUS and rail group Go-Ahead said record passenger numbers drove profits higher – triggering the first hike in its dividend in six years.

The group, which runs over 4,600 buses as well as the Southern, Southeastern and London Midland rail franchises, said increased passenger journeys contributed to a jump in pre-tax profits of 44.5 per cent to £91.2m in the year to June 28.

Revenues rose 5.1 per cent to £2.7bn.

During the year, the group’s Govia joint venture won the expanded Thameslink Southern and Great Northern franchise, which is Britain’s largest and due to come into service from next week.

The group said its bus services turned in an 11 per cent rise in operating profits to reach a record £83.5m, adding it was “confident” of meeting its £100m target by 2015/ 2016.

Bus journeys grew by 1.9 per cent during the year.

Go-Ahead’s bus division carries nearly two million passengers every day, focusing on busy commuter markets in the South and South East as well as Oxford, East Anglia and North East England.

The operator said its rail division beat management expectations by posting an operating profit up 71 per cent at £19.7m.

Rail passenger journeys lifted four per cent over the year.

Shares in the operator rose yesterday.