The Go-Ahead group, which co-owns the troubled GTR rail franchise and beleagured Southern Railway, has announced statutory pre-tax profits of nearly £100m, a day after ministers announced a £20m fund to bail out Southern.
The news was greeted with fury by unions, which are locked in a bitter dispute with the company.
Go-Ahead runs GTR, London Midland and Southeastern rail franchises
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘While Go-Ahead have been driving Britain's biggest rail franchise into total meltdown the cash has been sloshing through the boardroom at obscene levels. This is reward for total failure on a scale which is off the map.
‘This profit announcement comes just a day after the Government propped up Southern with yet another £20m of taxpayers cash. The company could clearly fund improvements themselves if they weren't wholly dedicated to trousering fare-payers money in shed loads.’
In the year to July, the group made adjusted operating profits of £57m from its rail operations, which it jointly owns with Keolis, making a contribution to the Department for Transport (DfT) of £222.4m during the year.
The group said it had had a ‘difficult year in GTR’ but was ‘working closely with the DfT and Network Rail to improve services to customers’.
It added that during the year, ‘the franchise has incurred significant costs and has not contributed to rail division profitability’, signalling that it had lost money.
GTR is the largest rail franchise in the country and under a unique agreement it is paid a fee by the DfT to manage services and hands all revenues back to the department. Therefore it makes a profit or loss depending on the difference between its costs and the money it receives from the Government.
Govia, of which Go-Ahead owns 65%, runs the London Midland and Southeastern rail franchises, as well as GTR.
The Go-Ahead group also announced adjusted operating profits of £100.4m from its bus businesses, up 8% on the previous year. The group’s total statutory pre-tax profits increased by 26.8% to £99.8m.
GTR has been involved in a number of industrial disputes with unions, including an ongoing dispute with the Rail, Union and Maritime (RMT) union over the role of conductors (guards) on Southern.
On Thursday, transport secretary Chris Grayling announced a package of measures including £20m funding to address ‘unacceptable disruption’ on Southern.