People waiting for a First Bus
The group continues with sustainability initiatives including delivering circa 300 electric buses in full year 2024 / Image source: FirstGroup
  • Ongoing industrial relations challenges
  • Continued electrification of First Bus division
  • FirstGroup shares up 17% over the past year

Shares in FirstGroup (FGP) were up marginally in morning trading to 169p as the FTSE 250 transport group reported a pre-tax loss of £24.4 million for the 53 weeks ending 30 March 2024.

The pre-tax loss included non-cash charges of £146.9 million relating to the group’s termination of its participation in two local government pension schemes during the year.

The group’s outlook for full year 2025, however remains ‘in line’ with expectations.

First Bus is on track to achieve 10% adjusted operating profit margin driven by lower operating costs, government policies and demographics driving demand.

Total Bus revenue for the year was £1.01 billion compared to £902.5 million for the same year ago period ‘reflecting strong growth across the business.’

In relation to First Rail division, the company said that there had been ‘industrial relations challenges’ and a ‘challenging environment,’ the division reported an increase in adjusted operating profit to £105.6 million.

First Rail’s financial performance in full year 2025 is ‘anticipated to be in line with expectations.’

FirstGroup sees a positive year ahead thanks to First Rail division

The company announced contract wins including a nine-year national rail contract awarded to West Coast Partnership (incorporating Avanti West Coast) with a minimum core three-year term to 18 October 2026, with a further six years to 17 October 2032 subject to Department for Transport approval.

First Rail was awarded an eight-year London Cable Car contract by Transport for London and selected as one of four bidders, alongside partner Keolis SA, to bid for upcoming Elizabeth Line contract


There was good news for existing shareholders as the bus and rail transport group recommended a final dividend of 4.0p per share, taking the full year 2024 total dividend to 5.5p, representing an increase of 45% versus full year 2023.

The company said it had also returned circa £118 million to shareholders via buyback programmes in full year 2024.


The group continues with sustainability initiatives including delivering circa 300 electric buses in full year 2024 and installing more than 300 charger outlets.

First Bus now has circa 600 electric buses, comprising 13% of their fleet, and three fully electric depots in England with six further depots across the UK partially electrified.


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Issue Date: 11 Jun 2024