The price of shares in FTSE 250 travel business FirstGroup (LON:FGP) rose by 4.96% to 62.13p (as of 14:30 BST) after it announced the receipt of a £300 million Covid-19 corporate financing facility, bringing the group’s committed headroom and free cash to £800 million. UK operations are under pressure with bus passenger volumes down by 90%, but there is a degree of state support while US operations have also seen government intervention.
CEO Matthew Gregory commented: “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. Their families, friends and co-workers have our heartfelt condolences and support, and the thoughts of everyone at FirstGroup are with all those affected by the global pandemic.
“I am extremely proud of our people who are working hard to support our communities during this time of crisis, both by maintaining critical transport services and by providing support in their communities to the most vulnerable.
“As an organisation we have taken rapid action to manage our costs, preserve cash and protect the Group’s financial position in order to ensure we are able to deliver the continuity of transport that is so essential to governments, local communities and our customers both now and once the present crisis is overcome. The support we have received from governments and our customers is testament to the importance of the services we provide. 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 to deliver our strategic plans“.