Pandemic drags FirstGroup to a loss in H1

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Pandemic drags FirstGroup to a loss in H1
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FirstGroup (LON:FGP) slumped to a pre-tax loss in the first half of 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing travel reductions took their toll.

The transport operator reported a pre-tax loss of £73.3m for the six months ended 30 September, versus a profit of £19.9m posted at the same time a year earlier. Adjusted operating profits came to £10.4m.

Revenues fell 23.8% to £3.10bn, as reduced passenger activity was partially offset by government procurement of services to enable socially distanced travel and strong revenue recoveries from North American contract customers.

“Whilst the outlook remains uncertain due to the pandemic, we performed ahead of our expectations in the first half, have taken prudent action to reinforce the balance sheet and are confident in the resilience of the group,” commented chief executive Matthew Gregory.

“Looking ahead, we will continue to work with our customers and communities to deliver safe, reliable and increasingly sustainable transportation as societies begin to look beyond the crisis and passengers return.”

FirstGroup shares rose 1.60% at 70.05p (as of 09:15 GMT).

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