Stagecoach first-half pre-tax profits fall 28%

Bus & rail operator Stagecoach Group Plc said its underlying first-half pre-tax profits plunged 28 per cent to settle at £75.5 million.

The Perth-based Stagecoach pocketed net income of £60.6 million in the six months ended October 31 as compared with £69.4 million in the year ago period.

Sales jumped 3 per cent to £1.08 billion during the same period.

Operating profits from the UK rail business plunged by more than half to settle at £14.9 million.

Stagecoach’s results were hit hard by rising fuel as well as pension costs.

Commenting on the results, company’s CFO Martin Griffiths said, “Our working assumption is that it will still be a challenging trading environment in 2010.”

Stagecoach operates the East Midlands rail franchise plus possesses 49 per cent stake in the Virgin Rail Group.

Shares in Stagecoach were trading at 151.8p-a-share at 8:14 a. m. in London.