Nov 11, 2018

FirstGroup reaps £40m dividend from Great Western Railway

UK rail operator FirstGroup made a £40m dividend from its Great Western Railway franchise over the past year despite a deterioration in performance. In the three years between 2015 and 2018, the FTSE 250 company earned a £159m dividend from Great Western, but is expected to pay just £68m to government for the line by April 2019. Last November, the Department for Transport announced it was planning to extend the current Great Western franchise until at least 2022 with a possible extension to March 2024, without a competitive process. FirstGroup has had a turbulent year, declaring a £327m loss in May, which led to the resignation of its chief executive Tim O'Toole. In the year to March 2018, FirstGroup made a £57.8m adjusted operating profit from its rail division, which includes the South Western railway line and the TransPennine Express.

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