Losses narrow at transport firm FirstGroup

FirstGroup bus FirstGroup runs extensive rail and bus operations in the UK as well as a bus business in the US

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Transport company FirstGroup has cut its losses and reported progress in its turnaround plan, but has warned of "headwinds".

The Aberdeen-based company made a pre-tax loss of £8m in the six months to the end of September, compared with a £20.6m loss in 2012.

FirstGroup said it had worked hard to "deliver" on its "potential".

Earlier in the year the group tapped investors for £615m via a rights issue and cancelled its dividend.

In July, it faced a shareholder rebellion over executive pay at its AGM.

The firm has extensive rail and bus operations in the UK, operating First Great Western, First Capital Connect and First ScotRail. It also has a bus business in the US.

It said economic conditions had "affected the core market" of its Greyhound division in America, although summer trends "show signs of improvement".

It added that there were "early positive signs" in its UK bus business, and that its UK rail division had recorded "solid passenger revenue growth and operating performances".

FirstGroup's chief executive Tim O'Toole said: "Although it is early days in our multi-year plan to improve our returns, resilience and growth prospects, we are seeing clear indications that we are making progress.

"While there remains a significant amount to be done, we believe the foundations are now in place to deliver on our market-leading potential."

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