Stagecoach hikes dividend as profits rise

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Transport group Stagecoach today said shareholders were in line for a 10 per cent hike in their dividend as it reported a 2.4 per cent rise in annual profits that lived up to its hopes.

The Perth-based firm, which last week secured an extension to the West Coast mainline franchise run by its Virgin Rail joint venture, posted a pre-tax profit of £158 million for the year to 30 April, up from £154.3m a year earlier.

Revenues grew 4.5 per cent to £2.9 billion and chief executive Martin Griffiths said: “We have met our expectations for the year.”

He added: “Across the group, we have a strong set of locally-managed businesses which are improving services for our customers, supporting the economy and communities, and adding value for our investors.”

The board proposed a final dividend of 6.6p a share, to be paid on 29 August, up from 6p last time. That would increase the total payout for the year by 10.5 per cent to 9.5p.