FirstGroup shares (LON: FGP) soared 8.66% on Tuesday as the group saw passenger numbers recover following the Coronavirus pandemic.
An update ahead of the group’s Annual General Meeting revealed stronger than expected financial performance as schools and workplaces return to normal.
Bus passengers have returned to 50% of their pre-pandemic levels, which is significantly higher than the 10% levels they were running on since lockdown.
“Overall, our divisions have delivered better revenue recovery and strong cost control in the period and the group is now expecting to generate a small adjusted operating profit in the seasonally weaker first half of the financial year. This anticipated result is ahead of our expectations earlier this summer,” said FirstGroup in a statement.
“Passengers can be confident that public transport is safe and we are encouraged that activity levels are increasing, especially since the start of the new school year on both sides of the Atlantic. We continue to work with our customers, communities and governments to maintain the availability of our transportation services which are so crucial to the recovery of local economies,” said chief executive Matthew Gregory.
“Although the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the Group continues to evolve, clarity is improving over time. We continue to take all necessary action to protect the business and to ensure the Group is in the most robust position possible to deliver on our strategic plans.
“As we head into the autumn, our priorities are to continue delivering safe, reliable transport services that meet the changing needs of our customers and communities, and to execute the sale of the North American businesses as expediently as possible and in the best interests of all shareholders,” he added.