Arriva steers towards rail bid

ARRIVA, the bus operator, said it would make a bid at the next round of rail franchises "if the price was right". Bob Davies, chief executive, said it was too early to say which franchises Arriva would be interested in.

The company's UK bus division grew operating profits by 9 per cent, while group pre-tax profits for the year to 31 December fell to pounds 94.5m from pounds 101m in 1997 on turnover of pounds 1.55bn, up from pounds 1.42bn. The shares rose 14.5p to 391.5p.