FirstGroup ups dividend as profit rises to £204m

Aberdeen-headquartered transport giant FirstGroup plc reported an increase in adjusted operating profit to £204.3 million for the 53 weeks to March 30, 2024.

Total dividend will rise 45% to 5.5p. The firm said it returned £118 million to shareholders via share buyback programmes in the year.

Revenue from continuing operations decreased marginally to £4.715 billion from £4.755 billion.

FirstGroup reported a statutory loss before tax of £24.4 million for the period that “includes predominantly non-cash charges of £146.9m relating to the group’s termination of its participation in two Local Government Pension Schemes during the year with an offsetting £161.0m gain in the Condensed Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income.”

First Rail reported revenue of £3.738 billion, down from £3.893 billion. First Bus reported revenue up 12% to £1.012 billion.

CEO Graham Sutherland said: “We have made considerable progress in our financial and operational performance in FY 2024 as we continue to transform and grow our leading First Bus and First Rail businesses.

“This is testament to the resilience and capability of our people across the group and leaves us well positioned to grow and create further value for all our stakeholders.”

“Our focus remains on working with government and all our stakeholders to deliver for our customers and drive modal shift.

“We will continue to lead in environmental and social sustainability, including building out our adjacent electrification opportunities in First Bus, and investing to grow and diversify our portfolio to ensure our business remains profitable and resilient in the long-term.”