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Stagecoach shares rise as sales recover

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Stagecoach Group profits plunged from to £65.9m last year to £5.4m in the six months to 31 October.

The bus operator posted a fall in revenue from £800.2m to £454.6m, as the group was hit by the pandemic and the group was forced to close of regional bus and tram services.

Since the initial lockdown, the group is seeing significant improvement. Regional buses are currently operating around 91% of prior year vehicle mileage and with commercial sales have recovered to almost 60% of prior year levels.

Stagecoach will not pay an interim dividend due to “continuing uncertainties”.

Martin Griffiths, the Stagecoach chief executive, said: “The safety and wellbeing of customers and our people remains our absolute priority as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. While the situation remains fluid, we have made progress in the restoration of our networks to close to pre-COVID levels and in growing passenger volumes safely.

“We have a strong business, with good liquidity, devolved operating companies closely focused on our customers and local communities, and a supportive relationship with government and our local authority partners.

“We welcome the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments’ recognition of the importance of bus and tram services, as evidenced by the sector-specific actions they have taken to support the continuation of vital services during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are working closely with our government and sector partners on a new framework to ensure the country’s public transport networks adapt to new working and travel patterns, are fit for the post-COVID world, and meet the continuing needs of our customers and communities.”

Stagecoach shares are trading +8.18% at 80,00 (1013GMT).