Badgerline doubles profits on back of two acquisitions

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The Independent Online
BADGERLINE, one of Britain's largest private sector bus companies, double pre-tax profits for the half-year to June from pounds 2.6m to pounds 5.4m, writes William Gleeson.

The company, floated in November last year, saw profits shoot up on the back of acquisitions of two regional bus companies, Stoke-on-Trent-based PMT Group and Yorkshire-based Rider Group, during the year. They contributed a combined pounds 2.3m.

Jim McLoughlin, Badgerline's finance director, said the company would continue to look for opportunities to acquire urban bus businesses.

He said continuing operations were carrying 2 per cent more passengers than last year. 'This is related to the use of frequently run smaller buses. These are more user-friendly as they involve less waiting time.'

Figures for the year to December showed a pounds 930,000 loss after a pounds 7.8m write-down in the value of a former bus depot site in Bath after plans to sell it to a supermarket group fell through when planning permission was refused.

The shares eased 6p to 119p. Mark Laurence, an analyst with Smith New Court, said: 'There are a lot of operating efficiencies still to come through.' He is estimating full-year profits of pounds 16m, giving a prospective p/e of 12.6.