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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 17:35 GMT
Profits on track for Stagecoach
Stagecoach Desiro train at station platform
The firm says more people are turning to the railways
Bus and train operator Stagecoach has reported a 9% rise in half-year profits and said its longer-term prospects remained positive.

Pre-tax profits rose to 84.6m ($177.7m) in the six months to 31 October, with revenues up 9% to 821m.

Stagecoach said increasing car congestion, inward migration and a growing focus on environmental issues would help to attract more passengers.

The company said it planned to spend 71m on 584 new buses.

'Marketing skill'

Revenue from its UK bus operations - which cover about 100 cities and towns - rose 8.1%.

But sales from bus services in North America were broadly flat.

We were especially encouraged by the fact that most of this growth came from passengers paying full fares
Credit Suisse

Analysts said they were impressed by the almost 4% growth in UK passenger numbers over the period.

"We were especially encouraged by the fact that most of this growth rate - 2.4% - came from passengers paying full fares, rather than from concessionary fares schemes," Credit Suisse said in a research note.

"We remain convinced that this is evidence of the group's superior skill in marketing and other volume stimulating initiatives."

Revenue from the company's UK rail operations rose 15%.

It operates 1,600 daily train services from London to the South East under its recently reawarded 10-year South West franchise.

Stagecoach also holds a 49% stake in Virgin Rail Group and recently won the East Midlands franchise, operating trains in and out of London St Pancras.

The City greeted the results favourably and Stagecoach shares closed up nearly 7% at 244.75p.

SEE ALSO
Agreement ends bus strike threat
29 Nov 07 |  Manchester
Stagecoach scraps buffet service
05 Sep 07 |  Nottinghamshire
Rail operations boost Stagecoach
22 Aug 07 |  Business

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