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Knutsford Express cash grows sevenfold as travel recovers

Published:Friday | October 22, 2021 | 12:08 AM
CEO of Knutsford Express Services Limited Oliver Townsend.
CEO of Knutsford Express Services Limited Oliver Townsend.

Knutsford Express, operator of a cross-country luxury bus service, generated cash from its operations within the quarter at more than seven times the pace a year ago.

The company continues to recover from the fallout in the travel and tourism market, but the business is still not at levels before the onset of the pandemic.

Knutsford Express Services earned net profit of $9 million for its first quarter ending August, compared to a loss of $25 million a year earlier. The bottom-line results, however, partially hide the increased cash generated from operations, which totalled $76 million, from $9.2 million a year earlier. The cash from operations shows the funds Knutsford Express freely holds after paying core bills and adjusting for depreciation.

The company utilised some of these funds for reinvestment in the business and debt-financing activities, closing the quarter with a cash balance of $70.8 million, up from $52.3 million a year earlier.

Revenue increased by 91 per cent to $233 million from $122 million over the comparative period in 2020, but the flows were still shy of the $325 million in sales reported in the pre-pandemic 2019 first quarter.

“[It] signals continued business recovery, while still being affected by the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CEO Oliver Townsend in the preface to the financials.

The continues to add new product and delivery options for the courier arm of the business, amid the expansion project in St Ann.

Knutsford Express Services’ total assets grew 22 per cent year-on-year to $1.3 billion, due to its new hub, the Knutsford Express Bus Centre at Drax Hall, St Ann, which is set for completion in the third quarter ending next February.

Townsend’s outlook on the business was relatively upbeat.

“While our revenues are yet to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels, we have managed nonetheless to adjust in this restrictive period, while maintaining the highest safety protocols remaining foremost in the minds of local travellers,” he said. “We are encouraged that local anti-COVID-19 measures will be successful, thereby increasing confidence in islandwide travel.”