It was good to see the regulatory news story about FirstGroup (FGP) that the typically wise and always serious Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) opined that after an investigation into the 'award of the West Coast Rail franchise to a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia...the award of the franchise can now go ahead without a more in-depth Phase 2 investigation'...
Now that is good news for FirstGroup, whose shares I have loved up for a while now and most recently just a few weeks ago following a post results share price fall (on various accounting fear elements – overdone as I said at the time) as the likelihood of positive events would mean 'the shares will be (once again) nicely north of the current 100 pence share price'. Hello this as I write!
Actually I think there is more to go given the competing value realisation break-up plans on the table from both the management team and an activist shareholder. Time will tell on this but for the reasons cited at the link above, lots of options are on the table, especially with the inherently cash flow heavy bus / student bus operations on both sides of the Atlantic being an integral part of the sum-of-the-parts.
My target remains north of 130p, a level which a previous FirstGroup management team were so foolish to turn down from a private equity bidder early last year. And - yes - it is still not too late to snaffle a few. In the meantime, with the CMA ruling out of the way, FirstGroup can crack on with the new West Coast Rail franchise 'Avanti'. Apparently the name “embodies progress and forward movement”, and is Italian for “forward” and “let’s go”. As a regular user of the West Coast mainland I have to say that it usually does move without too many impediments and as a loyal FirstGroup shareholder I look forward to contributing a bit more to the company's value creation strategies...aided by the contribution of all of our tax revenues too, naturally. Thank goodness for the bus operations!
Filed under: FirstGroup, BigDish, Marco Fumagalli, Sound Energy, Julie Meyer, Legatum, Sopheon
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