Stagecoach upbeat as profits slip

Image caption, Stagecoach is well established in the UK bus market

Transport group Stagecoach has reported a decline in pre-tax profits in what it described as a "difficult year".

It made £161.3m in the 12 months to the end of April, down from £196.4m a year earlier.

But the Perth-based bus and rail operator said it was seeing signs of economic recovery in the UK and North America.

Stagecoach added it was upbeat, even if the sustainability and pace of recovery was "unclear".

As well as a network of local bus routes, Stagecoach' s UK businesses including Megabus and the South West Trains and East Midlands Trains rail franchises.

It also has a number of joint ventures including a 49% stake in the UK's Virgin Rail Group.

The uncertain pace of economic recovery meant its bus division was planning for "relatively modest" fare and revenue increases in the year ahead, Stagecoach said.

Last year the firm ended talks over a proposed merger with National Express.

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