The first drop in profits for five years in the troubled transport company FirstGroup is expected to turn up the heat under-fire boss Tim O’toole.
Investors expressed their concern about the recent decision by FirstGroup to reject two bids from private equity companies Apollo and industry insiders believe that the cash infusion may be needed to solve the list of problems on the heavily indebted FTSE 250 business.
Five years in the stuttering of turnover, city analysts consensus forecast that adjusted pre-tax profit sink 4pcs £199m a year in Thursday results.
A pullback in profits, as expected, reiterated its call for a shake-up FirstGroup. Insider industry warn that Mr. O’toole was “unloved” some of the major shareholders of the company and was “clinging by their fingernails”.
Since taking the train and bus operator in 2010, the FirstGroup share price has tumbled 65pc. Shares never recovered after the beating in the rights issue of £615 millions in 2013. But the management insisted, when Apollo withdrew its interest earlier this month that he can still create value. Application FirstGroup Apollo criticized as opportunistic and too low.
First group PLC
Aberdeen company bus routes in many cities of the UK and operates three rail franchises – great Western, South Western Railways and TransPennine Express. Across the Atlantic, he owns a low cost bus company greyhound and the school bus.
The newspaper “daily Telegraph” submitted earlier this month, a top 15 shareholder West face capital sent a letter to the Chairman Wolfhart Hauser to call on FirstGroup to sell £1.4 billion of the company, break it into parts, or the allocation of its North American operations.
The letter criticized the inability of management to solve it “chronic” failure while another investor told the Telegraph newspaper that the company needs “a new face at the helm.”
Ahead of the results, UBS analyst Dominic Edridge warned that “the difficult situation with Greyhounds” is unlikely to improve and train the UK indicators “suggest a further decline in revenue growth”.
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Analysts are concerned that its rail franchises in the UK can face the same problems the stagecoach East coast mainline, with profitability hit on incomes fall behind expectations. The company’s Greyhound business is under pressure from growing competition in the US, while its margins in the division UK bus is much lower than the sector average.
With a strained balance of other capital, or to raise fresh capital from the buyer has been mooted by analysts as a possible way to begin the restoration of the company.
The struggle FirstGroup arise from the “pursuit of scale due to its core” and its acquisition of school bus operator Laidlaw in 2007 to ride it too much debt, jefferies analyst Joe Spooner said following the withdrawal of interest of Apollo.
He added that “no quick fix” in this company, but some analysts believe that FirstGroup can still restore its dividend in favor of curry this week with shareholders.