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FirstGroup: it is remarkable what a load of subsidies and a bit of cost control can do

2020-09-15 09:52:02

Back in July I concluded about bus and train operator FirstGroup (FGP) that 'councils and governments appear supportive but shareholders always have to worry when a subsidy game is propping a company up materially'. Today's AGM trading update exhibits similar themes...but also slips in a surprise profit running ahead of expectations ('small adjusted operating profit for the seasonally weaker first half of the financial year') comment. Hello a near 10% share price rise (although not yet a return of the share price to levels seen throughout the second quarter). So what is going on?...

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FirstGroup: your bus and train operator is still stopped at subsidy central

2020-07-08 09:58:55

Rail and bus operator FirstGroup (FGP) may be surviving but it hardly is thriving. Personally, I have not been on a train for almost four months and - frankly - I cannot imagine jumping on one for at least another couple of months. Others will be more or less gung-ho but today's full year numbers nodded towards a similar theme. If you want to understand today's share price fall, then you have to start with 'travel volumes have reduced very substantially (still 75-90% in the UK rail and bus operations) and while guidance to limit travel and socially distance remains in place, this will have a significant impact on our service capacity and financial performance'...

ARTICLE NEWSFLOW

Activism, the coronavirus and FirstGroup

2020-04-26 09:50:59

Life has moved quickly in the last six weeks and that is particularly true at the bus and train operator FirstGroup (FGP) which back in early March I was excited about the potential for either the company's organic efforts to create value...or the company's big activist shareholder to force it.  

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The FirstGroup share price train heads north again

2019-12-06 10:00:25

It was good to see today's regulatory news story about FirstGroup (FGP) that the typically wise and always serious Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) opined that after an investigation into the 'award of the West Coast Rail franchise to a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia...the award of the franchise can now go ahead without a more in-depth Phase 2 investigation'...

ARTICLE

Oops...FirstGroup did it again

2019-11-14 11:15:57

Mr Market giving you a kicking now and again keeps you suitably humble. Back in August I self-congratulated HERE about how 'one of my better portfolio performers year-to-date has been FirstGroup (FGP) which I have loved up a number of times in the last eighteen odd months on these pages, ever since the bus and rail company was silly enough (admittedly under a different management team) to turn down a bid from private equity'. Well that was all fine and dandy with both an activist shareholder AND the company coming up with its own plans to create value by splitting the company up. However today's update has pushed the shares down 20% odd percent as I write. So what has gone wrong given the value creation plans continue apace and full year numbers were reconfirmed?...

ARTICLE

The FirstGroup renaissance continues

2019-08-14 09:10:56

Outside of some legendary gold plays, one of my better portfolio performers year-to-date has been FirstGroup (FGP) which I have loved up a number of times in the last eighteen odd months on these pages, ever since it was silly enough (admittedly under a different management team) to turn down a bid from private equity. In my previous update, I recounted how the new management team were actually starting to copy some of the suggestions offered by activist challenges. Now this is all good stuff...but it is even better when you win new contracts…

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FirstGroup's Share Price has Travelled Up, but There May Be Further to Go

2019-05-17 08:12:31

Hello Share Takers. As a self-styled green investor, though hypocritically not all the time, I tend to favour public transport providers. FirstGroup (FGP) buses are a familiar sight on our roads and it also operates in the USA and Canada. Those famous Greyhound buses are in its stable...

ARTICLE NEWSFLOW

A German Teutonic train ratio tells you that First Group remains cheap

2019-03-31 04:54:52

The train operators certainly do make it easy to invest in them.  I read in the business pages of one of the deadwood press publications today that 'a £2.6 billion standoff over pensions threatens to derail a string of train franchises' which could well hit hopes to award long-term franchises in some parts of the country including the West Coast mainline which I live close to.  Another problem for that top performing politician Mr Grayling to deal with.  Why is his name never mentioned as a future Prime Minister?

ARTICLE

FirstGroup - dumping 'Madchester' bus station & refinancing bonds

2019-02-19 02:39:52

I am trying to think if I have ever been to ‘Madchester’ bus station. Whilst I ponder this, I can provide you with the news that FirstGroup (FGP) which apparently used to own it has sold it on for £11 million or so to another transport group Go-Ahead (GOG). How exciting. Much as I would like to talk about transport hubs of the north, there is a serious side to my preliminary waffle…

ARTICLE

FirstGroup - writedown losses, debt, CEO resignation. What is there not to like?!

2018-06-01 01:10:27

Something a little different today from all those worthy growth at a reasonable price type companies I normally ramble on about. Whisper it quietly, but I think that FirstGroup (FGP) is cheap here. I know that a transport company is never the most popular name - and I await the opprobrium from the TransPennine Express train and related users in the comments section - but hear me out, after all, got to be greedy when others are fearful and all that.

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