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FIRSTGROUP PLC - Accelerated Investment in First Bus Electrification



FirstGroup plc ('FirstGroup' or the 'Group') is pleased to announce that it has committed an additional investment of £35m in the electrification of its bus fleet and infrastructure. As a result, the Group now anticipates total bus capital expenditure of £120-125m in FY 2024.

This follows successful applications made in partnership with four local authorities where First Bus operates, to secure £25m of Government co-funding to accelerate investment in new electric buses and related infrastructure through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (‘ZEBRA’) funding scheme.

This funding is in addition to that already awarded under the first ZEBRA scheme in March 2022 and will allow First Bus to order an additional 117 electric buses, taking the total number of electric buses in its fleet to more than 600 by March 2024. This is a significant milestone for First Bus, with its York and Norwich depots set to become the UK’s first bus depots outside of London to run fully electric fleets. Another two depots, Bramley in West Yorkshire and Hoeford in Hampshire, will also see the introduction of electric bus fleets and infrastructure as a result of this funding.

Graham Sutherland, FirstGroup Chief Executive Officer, said:

“As a leading regional bus operator, we have a key role to play in the decarbonisation of public transport in the UK. The acceleration of our investment in the electrification of our bus fleet and infrastructure, supported by co-funding from Government, is another important step for FirstGroup as we deliver on our commitment to decarbonise our fleet and deliver benefits for all of our stakeholders.”

Contacts at FirstGroup:
Marianna Bowes, Head of Investor Relations
Stuart Butchers, Head of Corporate Communications
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7725 3354

Contacts at Brunswick PR:
Andrew Porter / Simone Selzer
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7404 5959

Contacts at Liberum Capital Limited:
Nicholas How / John Fishley / William Hall
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3100 2000

Contacts at RBC Europe Limited:
James Agnew / Jonathan Hardy / Jack Wood
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7653 4000

Forward-looking statements
Certain statements included or incorporated by reference within this announcement may constitute 'forward-looking statements' with respect to the business, strategy and plans of the Group and our current goals, assumptions and expectations relating to our future financial condition, performance and results. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, assumptions, uncertainties and other factors that cause actual results, performance or achievements of the Group to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. No statement in this announcement should be construed as a profit forecast for any period. Shareholders are cautioned not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements. Except as required by the UK Listing Rules and applicable law, the Group does not undertake any obligation to update or change any forward-looking statements to reflect events occurring after the date of this announcement.

Legal Entity Identifier (LEI): 549300DEJZCPWA4HKM93. Classification as per DTR 6 Annex 1R: 3.1

FirstGroup plc (LSE: FGP.L) is a leading private sector provider of public transport services. With £4.6 billion in revenue and more than 30,000 employees, our UK divisions transported nearly 1.5m passengers a day in the last financial year. First Bus is the second largest regional bus operator in the UK, serving two-thirds of the UK’s 15 largest conurbations with a fleet of c.4,900 buses. First Rail is the UK’s largest rail operator, with many years of experience running long-distance, commuter, regional and sleeper rail services. We operate a fleet of c.3,800 rail vehicles through four management fee-based train operating companies (Avanti West Coast, GWR, SWR, TPE) and two open access routes (Hull Trains and Lumo). We create solutions that reduce complexity, making travel smoother and life easier. Our businesses are at the heart of our communities and the essential services we provide are critical to delivering wider economic, social and environmental goals. We no longer purchase new diesel buses and are formally committed to operating a zero-emission First Bus fleet by 2035; and First Rail will help support the UK Government’s goal to remove all diesel-only trains from service by 2040. In February 2023 FirstGroup was named as one of the world's cleanest 200 public companies for the fourth consecutive year by sustainable business media group Corporate Knights in partnership with US not-for-profit organisation, As You Sow. Visit our website at and follow us @firstgroupplc on Twitter.