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Go-Ahead is a UK rail and bus operator primarily known for its operations in London.
The company now provides around 24 per cent of all London’s bus services on behalf of Transport for London.
Established in the late 1980s with the privitisation of the National Bus Company, it grew by acquiring a number of other bus firms and subsequently expanded into the rail market in the 1990s.
The London Stock Exchange listed company is significant in the rail market, responsible for around 35 per cent of all train passenger journeys and its regional services account for around 7 per cent of the UK market.
With 29,000 employees, Go-Ahead carrier around 3 million passengers a day across its services.
The extent of its services are reflected on its balance sheet. Last year adjusted operating profit came in at £157 million with total revenue of more than £3.3 billion.
Having recently diversified its services into the Singapore market, this latest move into the Irish market is undoubedly a hedge against the oncoming Brexit headwinds.
It was also awarded two rail contracts in Stuttgart, Germany, in 2015 which are due to commence toward the end of 2019.
But, not all of its international ventures have been sucessful.
In 2014, Go-Ahead North America pulled out of St Louis, Missouri, after its contract to provide school bus transport was not renewed. That contract was estimated to be worth between $6 million and $7 million.
Prior to that the company had to pull out of contracts in Sweden. It had a 39 per cent stake in a Stockholm based commuter rail business and a 29 per cent stake in a company operating services between Gothenburg and Malmo.
It sold both of those stakes in May 2000 at a cost of around £4.5 million. At the time, it blamed the Swedish authorities saying that discussions had “failed to provide a basis for continuing” with the contracts.
Aside from transport, the group also dabbled in the pub business when it bought bars in in the North East of England in the early 90s. That affair did not last long and it got out of the pub business in February 1996.