Go-Ahead profit falls on higher rail franchise payments


LONDON (Reuters) - British transport group Go-Ahead (LSE:GOG) posted an 8 percent fall in full-year profit, hit by a rise in rail franchise payments to the UK government.

The bus and rail operator on Thursday reported a pre-tax profit of 86.2 million pounds for the year to the end of June, on revenue 6 percent higher at 2.57 billion pounds.

The company, which operates the Southern, Southeastern and London Midland rail franchises, said profit at its rail unit fell 15.7 million pounds during the year as franchise payments to the British government rose by 85.9 million pounds.

Go-Ahead was expected to report an average pre-tax profit of 83.2 million pounds for the year, according to a Thomson Reuters poll of 14 analysts.

Go-Ahead said its bus division posted a record operating profit of 78.2 million pounds in the year, up 11.4 percent, and that the bus business was on course to deliver an operating profit of 100 million pounds by 2016.

The company, which has been short-listed for Thameslink and Crossrail franchises, maintained full year dividend at 81 pence and said its new financial year had started well.

(Reporting by Rhys Jones, Editing by Brenda Goh)

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