Owner of 'poor' Northern line makes £57m profit

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The Independent Online

Tube Lines, the public-private partnership responsible for the Jubilee, Piccadilly and Northern lines, has reported a 37 per cent surge in annual profits.

Despite the Northern line being one of the worst on the Underground, pre-tax profits for the latest financial year have come in at £57.1m, up from £41.6m last year. Income for the 12 months to 31 March was £864.4m.

The dividend due to be paid to Tube Lines' owners, support services group Amey and US construction giant Bechtel, will be revealed later this week when the annual results are made public. No parties, however, are allowed to take money out of the business until year eight of the 30-year contract. Tube lines is currently two years into the agreement.

Its chief executive, Terry Morgan, writing in the company's annual corporate review, said: "Our progress over the last 12 months has justified my confidence, and we can now point to a growing body of evidence that Tube Lines is delivering on its promises. Over the last 12 months, our efforts to transform the lines for which we are responsible have gathered pace."

A Tube Lines spokesman added that debt facilities had been refinanced and spending upped over the last year, while the consortium was also ahead of its targets in a range of areas.

He also defended the slow progress on the Northern line. "[It] is the most complex tube line by far, it's also the deepest and it carries 207 million people a year. By far and away it is the busiest tube line and we have been doing an enormous amount of work on it."

However, a Transport for London report last month criticised Tube Lines and Metronet, the other consortium that is responsible for two-thirds of the network. It claimed Metronet was performing particularly badly while Tube Lines was behind on some station refurbishments. It also pointed out that the Northern line remained the worst-performing.

Amey, which is now part of Spanish construction and services group Ferrovial, upped its stake in Tube Lines at the start of this year when it brought out ailing rival Jarvis's stake.