- Revenue up 4.5%
- PTP of £158.0m (2013: £154.3m)
- FY divi hike from 8.6p to 9.5p
Expectations were broadly met at transport group Stagecoach, with an increase in revenue driven by its UK regional bus operations.
Group turnover rose 4.5% from £2.8bn to £2.9bn, although this came in below some analysts' forecasts, with broker Brewin Dolphin expecting a 5% rise.
Reported profit before tax totalled £158.0m, up from £154.3m a year earlier, prompting a hike in the full-year dividend from 8.6p to 9.5p.
Excluding intangible asset expenses and exceptional items, profit climbed £3.3m to reach £180.7m on operating profit of £2,930m.
Overall like-for-like passenger volume growth for the year was 1.3%.
Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said: "We have met our expectations for the year [...] In the UK, we have placed record orders for new vehicles at our regional bus networks in 2014/15, which is a sign of our confidence in continuing to get people out of their cars and back on board the bus [...] In London, we are winning and retaining contracts on the right terms and our customers are benefitting from improved operational performance.
"While we were disappointed not to secure the new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail franchise, we are very pleased that Virgin Rail Group has agreed a new West Coast rail franchise and that we have extended our innovative alliance with Network Rail at South West Trains."
Within the UK Bus division, revenue climbed 5.2%, while operating profit jumped 25.8% from £19.0m to £23.9m, ahead of its expectations at the start of the year.
The underlying decline in revenue that was reported in the first half of the financial year was more than offset by growth in the second half as it benefitted from nine new contracts that it won in the previous financial year.
The UK Rail division suffered a 16.7% dive in operating profit on revenues of £1,252m, hit in part by severe winter weather and anticipated increases in the franchise payments to the Department for Transport (DfT).
Looking ahead, the group admitted that "the financial performance of the businesses becomes more challenging compared to that forecast in the original bids for the franchises", because both face further substantial increases in the amounts they are due to pay to the DfT.
"While we remain focussed on growing revenue and controlling costs to offset these increased premia payments, to the extent possible, the greater opportunities to add value in UK Rail lie in the planned direct awards of new South West Trains and East Midlands Trains franchises and in the opportunities to secure other new franchises," it explained.
In North America, revenue rose 6.9% to $685.7m, while on a like-for-like basis it climbed 3.9% to $530.1m, fuelled by a 16.4% jump in Megabus turnover, which was in turn partly lifted by new network launches. Divisional operating profit soared 80.1% to $38m.
"Revenue growth in North America remains the highest of any of our divisions, reflecting the successful expansion of megabus.com services," the group said. "Although we would not expect the level of increase in operating profit [...] to be repeated in the new financial year, we remain positive on the prospects for the North America Division."
Shares had dropped 0.4% to 376p by 09:09.