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Stagecoach confident of long-term prospects despite Covid-19 uncertainties

Fri 26 March 2021 08:16 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - Scottish transport group Stagecoach said on Friday that it continues to see "good long-term prospects" for the business despite it being difficult to forecast a return to profitability as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Stagecoach said there was a positive long-term outlook for its regional bus business, with supportive government policy, including the new National Bus Strategy for England, and continued demand for its services despite the changing pattern of Covid-19 restrictions across the UK.

The AIM-listed company stated commercial sales were currently at around 46% of 2019 levels, with the firm currently operating vehicle mileage in excess of 86% of 2019 levels, while commercial sales recovered to around 60% of 2019 levels in autumn 2020.

Stagecoach added that it was pleased with its continued strong operational and financial performance in London, with the unit operating at normal levels as full service has been restored. The group expects that operating profit in 2020/21 will be slightly ahead of the prior year, reflecting the good performance from contracts started during the year.

Chief executive Martin Griffiths said: "We remain confident that there is a strong and positive future for public transport as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We have strong fundamentals, despite the immediate short-term uncertainties, and good ESG credentials. Looking ahead, our bus, coach and tram services have a critical role in tackling climate change, delivering economic recovery, and ensuring healthier and more connected communities."

Stagecoach also highlighted that since its interim results announcement on 9 December, the firm has seen "further positive cash flow", excluding movements in borrowings, and had available liquidity of over £850.0m.

As of 0815 GMT, Stagecoach shares were up 3.04% at 96.65p.

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