FirstGroup shares fall again after first-half loss

Shares of Aberdeen-based global bus and rail giant FirstGroup fell for a second successive day on Wednesday following the news on Tuesday that it made a statutory loss of £1.9 million for the six months to September 30 compared to an £11.1 million profit for the same period last year.

Revenue rose 8.1% to £2.8 billion in the period.

FirstGroup CEO Tim O’Toole said of the results: “The overall trading performance and significantly increased free cash generation of the group in the first half was consistent with the plans we outlined at the start of the financial year.

“Solid performances from most of our businesses are partially obscured by the impact of the recent severe hurricane on our operations in Puerto Rico.

“In the second half we will benefit from our normal seasonal bias, our ongoing focus on cost efficiencies and from additional business which commenced in the period, including the South Western Railway franchise.

“We expect to make further progress and deliver substantial free cash generation for the year as a whole.”