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FirstGroup's 11% Trailing Yield

By Maynard Paton - Apr 9, 2013 at 4:26PM

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FirstGroup remains cagey about its forthcoming payout.

LONDON -- The shares of FirstGroup (FGP 8.71%) added three pence to 204 pence during early London trade this morning to offer investors a potential trailing yield of more than 11%.

FirstGroup, which operates the First Great Western train route and owns the Greyhound coach service in the States, has declared dividends totaling 23.67 pence per share during the last 12 months.

However, the transport group stated this morning that it still remains undecided about its payout for the year to March 2013. During November, the FTSE 250 business announced it would hold its interim dividend following the government's decision to delay further rail refranchise awards.

FirstGroup will announce its full-year payout on May 22.

Within today's statement, FirstGroup claimed trading during its financial year had matched the company's expectations.

The group said its U.K. like-for-like rail revenues had advanced 7% and that U.K. like-for-like bus revenues had gained 2%.

The twelve months to March also saw revenues within the firm's American school bus division slip 3% and underlying sales at Greyhound climb 1%.

Tim O'Toole, FirstGroup's chief executive, said: "Trading during the period is in line with expectations. Although there is work still to be done, we are satisfied with the progress made so far. While remaining cautious in respect of continued challenging economic conditions, we are confident the actions we are taking will position the business to generate sustainable growth and improved returns."

According to City forecasts, current-year earnings could come in at 30 pence per share and place FirstGroup on a P/E of seven.

Nonetheless, the company's performance during the 12 months to March 2014 is somewhat uncertain, with broker Shore Capital expecting profits to halve and the dividend to be slashed by more than two-thirds.

Of course, whether such uncertainty is already reflected by the 11% trailing yield is something only you can decide.

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