On 30 March 2020, FirstGroup plc announced that it had signed an agreement with the DfT to continue GWR`s business until March 2023, with a possible one-year extension. GWR`s existing EMA was signed on the same day as the new franchise agreement in March and the DfT`s option to verify the EMA was part of that agreement. This process and timing differ from the other three rail franchises that already had franchise agreements established before introducing EMAs in response to the pandemic. Discussions are ongoing with the DfT regarding these franchises, which will be under EMA until 20 September 2020. Further updates will be made available to the market, as appropriate. “When the current emergency measures agreed with the government come to an end, today`s agreement will ensure that GWR continues to deliver sustainable benefits to customers and a fair balance of risk and return for our shareholders and the government. We are proud of GWR`s successes in recent years and are working with industry partners to change the passenger experience with new, faster, more environmentally friendly trains and a schedule that offers record travel times to the main cities on the line. The new agreement for GWR will start at the end of the previous direct award agreements on April 1, 2020 and will last for three years until March 31, 2023, with a possible one-year extension at the discretion of the DfT. EMAs with franchised operators were set up by the DfT to ensure the continued operation of passenger transport during the coronavirus pandemic, when lockdown operations caused a drop in passenger numbers and, consequently, revenues. In the context of EMAs, dfT waives the operator`s turnover, cost and capital risk and pays a fixed administrative fee with the potential for a small performance-based remuneration. The franchise agreement contained an EMA covering at least the first six months of that period. As DfT soon expired, DfT made use of its option to extend it under the same conditions. The figures presented in this Communication have not been verified.
Certain statements contained in this communication or that are included by reference in this communication may constitute “forward-looking statements” regarding the group`s business, strategy and plans, as well as our current objectives, assumptions and expectations with respect to our financial position, performance and future results. Forward-looking statements naturally involve known and unknown risks, assumptions, uncertainties and other factors that cause the actual results, achievements or achievements of the group to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. Shareholders are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Despite the reductions and emergency measures already disclosed by the group, the overall impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the group`s financial capacity and prospects remains extremely uncertain, in the short and medium and long term. The situation is evolving very quickly and, although every effort has been made to verify the veracity of the information contained in this announcement, the influence of the coronavirus on the group`s performance means that such statements must be treated with particular attention. . . .