Record year gives Virgin Trains bumper payout

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Car Rental News - 18/08/2011


A day after news of higher fares, Virgin Trains posted record revenues.

Virgin Trains has announced record revenues and a handsome £32.5-million dividend for the company’s owners. The news comes only a day after it was revealed that travellers are facing yet another round of fare hikes.

West Cost Trains, the holding company that runs Virgin Trains, filed its latest set of accounts this week regarding operation of the line between Glasgow and London. The accounts also show the company paid a £110-million premium to the government.

The group reported an 11-per-cent rise in sales, to £753 million, for the year ending March. The company saw passenger numbers rocket past 28 million.

Virgin Group, which is run by Sir Richard Branson, owns 51 per cent of Virgin Rail Group. Stagecoach owns the remaining shares.

The rail business issued £32.5 million in dividend payments to two shareholders last year. The other £6.5 million of profits were invested back in the business.

Virgin Rail CEO Tony Collins said the firm’s partnership with the UK’s Transport Department had seen its growth in passenger numbers outpace the marked in the last six years. He added that this trend was expected to continue, thanks to joint investments like the recent acquisition of a new Pendolino tilting train.

Virgin took over operation of the franchise some 14 years ago and has been paid £1.4 billion worth of subsidies. It is currently talking to the government in a bid to extend the current franchise.

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