Shares in Go-Ahead Group were up on the FTSE 250 in morning trading after the transport company reported a rise in revenue and pre-tax profit in the half year ended 1 January 2011.
Revenue increased six per cent in the period to £1.1 billion. Pre-tax profit before exceptional items rose 1.4 per cent to £50.7 million, while after exceptional items pre-tax profit jumped 7.7 per cent to £45 million.
The group said that it had cut its net debt from £87 million at the end of the same period last year to £71.6 million.
Go-Ahead said it would be holding its underlying dividend at 25.5 pence per share.
Keith Ludeman, Chief Executive of Go-Ahead, said, "While we remain cautious on the outlook for the economy, we are confident with the underlying strengths of our business. Like-for-like passenger numbers increased by 1.7% to well over one billion per annum. Our bus operating profit is at record levels and is a strong indication of people leaving their cars at home and taking the bus. Whilst rail remains difficult to predict, we now expect our full year operating profit across our rail and bus businesses to be higher than we previously anticipated and around the same as achieved last year (FY'10: £101.0m).
"Looking ahead, the political and economic fundamentals of public transport remain strong. We are now firmly focused on bus and rail, with a strong cash position to support organic and acquisitive growth in the UK and North America while maintaining our dividend."
By 09:15 shares in Go-Ahead were up 5.09 per cent on the FTSE 250 to 1,383.00.