Belfast Telegraph

Stagecoach shares climb on boost to earnings forecast

Stronger performance in the rail business helped push up expectations.

Stagecoach (Dave Thompson/PA)
Stagecoach (Dave Thompson/PA)

Shares in transport operator Stagecoach have jumped after it raised expectations for the full year amid improved trading.

The company said its expectations for earnings per share (EPS) were higher than at its previous update in December.

Shares in Stagecoach climbed 7% in morning trading on Wednesday.

The group reported like-for-like revenue growth for the 44 weeks to March 2 across most of its divisions.

Virgin trains (Rui Vieira/PA)

The strongest growth was in its regional UK bus operations and the Virgin Rail Group, with increases of 3.4% and 6.7% respectively.

The financial performance of the rail business was ahead of expectations, which the company said was due to good underlying revenue trends.

It has also concluded industry charges and contractual matters associated with the expired South West Trains franchise, resulting in additional profit being recognised for this year.

Analysts at Liberum said: “In our view, while an improved outlook for EPS is positive, the bias towards rail – where franchises are close to expiry – and within that a clear one-off element related to past franchises, makes for a low-quality uplift to consensus estimates.”

London bus comparable revenues were up 1.3%.

North America proved to be the only drag, with like-for-like revenue down 1.4% in the 10 months to February 28.

The division is to be sold to private equity firm Variant Equity Advisers in April in a deal announced in December which values the business at 271.4 million dollars (£208.1 million).