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FirstGroup strengthens cash buffer to £800mln with government loans

Greyhound is also expected to be a material recipient of US$326mln allocated by the US government

FirstGroup -
US schools are shut

FirstGroup PLC (LON:FGP), the bus and train operator, said it has boosted its cash buffer to weather the coronavirus lockdown to more than £800mln following a £300mln award through the UK government’s Covid loan facility.

US subsidiary Greyhound is also expected to be a material recipient of US$326mln allocated by the US government to support bus services between cities.

FirstGroup said Greyhound’s revenue had fallen by 80% since the outbreak of the pandemic, while its US school bus service is receiving 60% of pre-crisis income and its transit arm 75%.

In the UK, bus services are running at 40% capacity while its train operations have switched to fixed fee management contracts funded by the government.

FirstGroup added that staff across all its business had died from the virus.

Matthew Gregory, chief executive said: “I am deeply saddened that the coronavirus pandemic has now tragically claimed the lives of colleagues from within each of our five divisions in North America and the UK.

“The long-term fundamentals of our businesses remain sound, and we will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure that the group emerges from this unprecedented situation in the most robust position possible.”

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