ScotRail reveals £10 million loss in most recent financial period

Losses have almost tripled since the previous period.

ScotRail has reported a £10 million loss over a 15-month period in its most recent accounts.

Abellio, the Dutch transport giant which runs ScotRail services, revealed an after-tax loss of £10 million in the period January 1 2018 to March 31 2019.

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This compares to a £3.5 million loss in the between January 1 2017 and December 31 2017.

Abellio will be stripped of the ScotRail franchise three years early.Abellio will be stripped of the ScotRail franchise three years early.
Abellio will be stripped of the ScotRail franchise three years early.

Turnover was almost £990 million, including £383 million in subsidy from Transport Scotland and £445 million in passenger income.

The company reported an operating loss of £7.9 million, which added to interest and charges of £3.4 million led to a before-tax loss of over £11 million.

It has changed its accounting period from the end of December to the end of March, to align with the rail year end, leading to a 15-month accounting period being reported this year.

The report outlines the ‘ambitious’ plans Abellio had when it took over the franchise in 2015 with a ten-year contract to the tune of £7 billion.

“Abellio ScotRail’s plan for ScotRail set ambitious objectives at the start of the franchise with the biggest investment in new trains, track and stations since the Victorian era, with a fleet of over 1,000 new and refurbished carriages and an additional 115,000 seats every weekday,” it says.

But it explains that results for the period have been impacted by ‘operational performance issues’ in the wake of infrastructure upgrades and the late delivery of new trains.

“During this period of unprecedented investment and change, results for the period have been impacted by operational performance issues following major infrastructure upgrades of track and stations and the late delivery of new trains to support significant timetable improvements,” the report states.

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“A performance improvement remedial plan was agreed with Transport Scotland in February 2019 and that included additional investment.

The company, whose net assets were £8.1 million compared to £14.6 million in 2017, also revealed it did not pay any dividends to shareholders during the most recent period.

It comes after news that Abellio will be stripped of the ScotRail franchise in 2022, three years earlier than planned.

There is no clear replacement lined up to take over the contract, and Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said only that he would ‘examine the options’ for the next partner to the Scottish Government’s single biggest contract.

Abellio UK managing director Dominic Booth said he was ‘hugely disappointed’ by the decision, which he condemned as the “wrong choice”.

ScotRail runs some 2,400 train services a day, and covers all services in the country apart from those run by other operators which cross the border.