Go-Ahead warns of uncertainty on second-wave fears

LONDON (Reuters) - UK transport operator Go-Ahead GOG.L said that it was now running more than 90% of its bus and rail services across the country but the pandemic was causing uncertainty over its outlook.

For the 12-months to 27 June, Go-Ahead posted operating profit before exceptional items of 77.9 million pounds, slightly ahead of its guidance, but below the 121 million pounds it made last year.

Profit was hit by difficulties in its German rail business and from the impact of COVID-19 which pushed down passenger numbers in its regional bus business by as much as 90%, but the group did benefit from government support measures.

Go-Ahead said passenger numbers had now risen to 50 to 60% of previous levels as the economy opened up again, but the next few months looked uncertain given new restrictions in the UK where COVID-19 infections are once again rising.

Government support for UK rail contracts will help its rail business to deliver a breakeven performance in its new financial year, but it said it could not provide a forecast for its regional bus unit.

On London and international buses, Go-Ahead said the division would make a profit similar to the 48.5 million pounds it made last year.

Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by James Davey and Paul Sandle