Go-Ahead Group PLC (LON:GOG) swung to a loss in the year to June 27, 2020, as its regional bus and train operations bore the brunt of the coronavirus lockdown.
London buses did better, said Go-Ahead, and kept operating profits more or less steady at £48.5mln (2019: £51.2mln), but the impact elsewhere meant an overall net deficit of £28.6mln against a £59mln profit even though revenues rose 6% to £3.9bn.
The FTSE 250-listed group, which runs the GTR and Southeastern rail franchises, said it remained cash positive throughout the period and had cash facilities of £230mln at the end of June.
Since March, Go-Ahead’s UK rail operations have effectively been run by the government, which announced an end to the franchise system earlier this week.
The contracted nature of the remainder of the business provides greater visibility of future financial performance, Go-Ahead added.
For the 2021 financial year, it expects similar profits to the year just ended from London buses while the rail division is expected to breakeven.
Regional buses are harder to forecast, it said, with passenger numbers still only 50-60% of pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.
David Brown, Go-Ahead's chief executive, said he still expects severe challenges even when the pandemic eases.
“ We may see increasing levels of home working, more online medical appointments and fewer international trips, all of which could impact demand for our services.
“ However, we may see more domestic holidays, more people moving out of cities and commuting from the countryside and more activity in our local communities," Brown added in the results statement.