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Statement by FirstGroup Corporation on the West Coast Partnership Award

FirstGroup plc (LON: FGP) and Trenitalia UK Ltd welcomed at the moment the announcement by the Department of Transportation of its intention to grant a brand new West Coast partnership to a 70% three way partnership with First Trenitalia West Coast Rail Limited.

The brand new partnership shall be operational from December 8, 2019 and can include two separate phases. In a primary part, by March 2026, First Trenital will use present InterCity West Coast providers, whereas offering quite a lot of design, improvement and mobilization providers as a shadow operator for Excessive Velocity ​​2 (& # 39; HS2 & # 39;). The primary Trenitalia will then operate HS2 and the renewed InterCity West Coast rail providers in one part, from March 2026 to March 2031, underneath a administration settlement.

First Trenitalia is dedicated to delivering numerous passenger improvements. InterCity West Coast Providers in the first part of the partnership. We’ve got been extensively coping with shoppers and group groups and prioritizing our suggestions based mostly on their feedback in six key areas:

Distinctive Customer Expertise: 56 Our Pendolino practice fleet is being utterly upgraded with 25,000 brand new snug seats and additional baggage area for passengers. Better and more reliable free Wi-Fi and seat energy are offered to all fleet clients with wi-fi charging and onboard entertainment. The catering service can be up to date at all passenger places.

Clearer worth: Introducing a simple to know worth listing and fewer ticket varieties; straightforward and quick restoration when things go improper; and easier charges for cell phones and sensible playing cards for all ticket varieties.

Extra Providers: By 2022, we’ll provide more than 260 further providers per week, growing passenger kilometers by greater than 10% in comparison with 2017/18. We offer new direct providers to locations reminiscent of Liverpool South Parkway, Walsall and Gobowen (for Oswestry), and we provide further stops at stations like Rugby, Llandudno Junction and Motherwell.

Better Stations: With an up to date expectation, we're investing in our station with rooms, better customer support, extra parking, and better access for many who want it. As well as, we are working with major partners and stakeholders to make major updates, together with at Coventry and Birmingham International Stations. We scale back the environmental influence of our buildings by enhancing power efficiency and installing photo voltaic panels, whereas committing ourselves to decreasing 80% of non-recyclable waste from merchandise bought or shipped on trains.

Investing in Extra Efficient, Smaller Emission Practice Stations: Introducing environmentally friendly, trendy trains that exchange only diesel-powered Voyager and scale back CO2 emissions by 61%. We are introducing 13 low emission dual mode trains for North Wales to London providers. Ten new snug electrical trains permit us to run two trains an hour between Liverpool and London on weekdays and Saturdays.

Individuals and Communities: We spend money on apprenticeships and manage over 50,000 coaching days, together with accessibility training for frontline staff. We’re establishing a Group investment fund chaired independently by the Economic Improvement and Integrated Transport Forums and regional buyer panels.

The partnership paves the means for a new period by way of the British high-speed rail community by way of HS2. Trenitalia brings direct expertise to the design, launch and upkeep of high-speed rail providers. FirstGroup's Rail Department has a deep business understanding of the UK rail market, as well as experience in launching new fleets and up to date schedules and managing providers during major infrastructure work. Together we anticipate to be a key companion for DfT, HS2 Restricted, Network Rail and our different stakeholders as the challenge moves from the development part to the operational rail network in a means that enhances present providers. [19659002] Additional info at www.westcoastrail.co.uk

Grant Shapps, Minister of Transportation, stated:

“This award is constructive information for passengers because it has more providers, extra direct connections and more formidable plans for cleaner. , a greener railway and in addition represents a decisive shift in the direction of a new railway model.

“It's a partnership sponsored by Keith Williams, constructed with flexibility to answer his suggestions. A gathering with Keith final week reaffirmed our widespread willpower to deliver a future that places passengers – and punctual trains – at the coronary heart of the railways.

"That is why I have asked Keith to draw up a White Paper in the autumn, with a fearless recommendations. which produces a rail system suitable for the 21st century. "

Matthew Gregory, CEO of FirstGroup, stated:

" We are delighted to win the West Coast Partnership agreement to provide existing InterCity services to the West Coast Mainline and to help deliver high-speed rail. The West Coast Partnership includes one of the most successful bus franchises in the last twenty years. We are committed to delivering a number of enhancements to InterCity West Coast travelers in the first phase of our partnership, and our goal is to provide our customers with exceptional service as standard.

“In 2016, we and our partner Trenitalia committed to offering deals. West Coast Partnership as a unique opportunity to help design and manage HS2. We look forward to participating in the success of the once-in-a-lifetime project to bring Britain's largest cities closer together.

“The differences between this contract and the more traditional rail transports were reflected in DfT, which has led to a more appropriate balance of risks and benefits for us as operators. The first phase of the West Coast Partnership will allow us to earn a significant return on our significant investment in passenger services and services, but will provide much protection through an improved revenue sharing mechanism. This will move to a management agreement in the second phase, ensuring that we can truly focus on using our respective skills and experience in the joint venture to deliver the desired benefits of the HS2 project to travelers and the country.

“We are pleased to have won the West Coast Partnership with Trenitalia, a strong partner committed to a growing role on the UK railways. The partnership strengthens and adds to our fourth rail franchise portfolio in the UK. So, after this award, we are not looking for new franchising opportunities for the near future that go beyond the current negotiations with DfT to expand GWR. We continue to focus on generating sustainable shareholder value and actively manage our rail portfolio and its risk and reward profile. "

Gianfranco Battisti, CEO of FS Italiane, stated:

" In simply three years in the United Kingdom, we have now strengthened our presence by leading one among the nation's major railroad corporations alongside our FirstGroup partners. This award represents a big new step in our ambition to be a big part of the UK rail business. By means of this partnership, our international enterprise continues to movement from strengths, especially in potential markets comparable to the UK.

“We have now over 20 years of expertise in the high-speed sector in Italy, which has a a lot better connection with the Italians. Trenitalia operates in the solely aggressive and open high-speed market in the world.

“Since the acquisition of c2c in 2017, our improvement in the UK market has progressed via investments in know-how and customer providers. We are pleased with the results we’ve got achieved when it comes to efficiency punctuality and buyer satisfaction, which has proven to be considered one of the greatest in the UK.

“Trenitalia is now one among the most essential railway corporations in Europe with operations in France, Germany. and Greece, in addition to Italy and the United Kingdom. We even have partnerships in Austria and Switzerland and goal to proceed to grow in the UK and elsewhere in the coming years. “

Key Phrases and Circumstances

The partnership will start on December 8, 2019 and will include two separate phases. [19659002] In the first part, from December 2019 to March 2026, First Trenital will use InterCity West Coast as a franchise with income sharing with DfT by means of its Gross National Revenue Safety Mechanism and the further Forecast Income Mechanism (FRM). the financial effects of UK macroeconomic circumstances beyond First Trenitalia's management, whereas the FRM may be triggered if, for some purpose, the revenue differentials exceed the threshold set in the bid assumptions. If these revenue-sharing mechanisms have been part of FirstGroup's TPE and SWR franchise agreements, the company believes that these agreements would have been worthwhile of their entirety.

First Trenitalia will provide the actual internet amount of £ 1.6 billion * as a further cost to the government during this first part. . First Trenitalia can be instantly funded by the £ 11 million residual reserves and commission deductions will fund First Trenitalia's £ 252 million investment in the first part. Rolling stock leasing corporations are funding £ 453 million to finance new and refurbished trains. These investments, together with further routes and other schedule modifications, will end in a mixed annual progress fee of & # 39; CAGR & # 39; Passenger income of £ 1.2bn in 2018/19 is predicted to develop at a mean single-digit CAGR in the first part, lower than the franchise's historic progress price over the previous ten years and other initiatives.

In addition to InterCity West Coast providers, First Trenitalia additionally offers numerous providers as a shadow operator for the HS2 program. General, FirstGroup expects to earn a strong margin in the direction of current business highs during the first part. The primary part could also be extended past March 2026 for up to five years if requested by DfT, offered the agreed revenue and the selected value recovery mechanism are carried out, and this part shall finish at the very least six months earlier than the start of the HS2 providers.

The second part is predicted to start in March 2026 and begin in March 2031, with a attainable extension of up to three years with the selection of DfT. Throughout the second part, First Trenitalia will ship the HS2 providers and the upgraded InterCity West Coast providers as an integrated operation inside a administration contract structure, with the income and price dangers being transferred to DfT. Throughout the second part, First Trenitalia earns a administration payment equal to a low one-digit margin per yr and additional bonuses for good performance.

Joint ventures, via their dad or mum corporations, have entered into sure financial obligations beneath the Settlement. , which considerably reduces between the first and second part. In the first part, the mum or dad corporations of the joint ventures will collectively provide First Trenitalia with a mortgage of as much as £ 30 million, a conditional mortgage facility of £ 102 million and a loan of £ 20 million. FirstGroup is chargeable for 70% or £ 106 million of this £ 152 million contingent capital commitment. In the second part, contingent liabilities might be decreased to GBP 65 million, of which FirstGroup will account for GBP 46 million. In addition, JV partners supply a season ticket value around £ 10 million. As part of the modeling train, a variety of situations, together with the risk-sharing preparations offered by DfT, have been thought-about in an effort to assess the pension features of the supply and this evaluation was extensively consulted by external specialists. As with other railway transports, the ongoing pension obligations won’t end at the finish of the franchise interval and can in any event be transferred to DfT during the second part of the contract.

The award takes place at the standard ready time. "For no less than ten days, after which DfT will sign formal agreements. Like different UK rail franchise awards, the Competition and Market Authority may even conduct a primary part assessment.

FirstGroup and Trenitalia consider that this distinctive agreement has the right stability between potential dangers and to shareholders, which inserts in with the distinctive nature of Work to the success of taxpayers and vacationers, each in offering InterCity West Coast providers and supporting the HS2 challenge for years to return.

* Internet current worth of estimated first-period estimated franchise discount A real discount price of three.5%, a three way partnership settlement (“joint venture agreement”) to determine First Trenital in November 2016 to take part in the West Coast Partnership FirstGroup has a 70% stake, while Trenitalia has a 30% stake in the group. First Trenitalia has benefited from the complementary expertise and experience of FirstGroup and Trenitalia in this award. Participation in the West Coast Partnership process was conditional on the suppliers with the ability to exhibit their experience of operating high-speed rail networks.

Preliminary bids have been made in July 2018 after external validation and in depth assessment by both FirstGroup and Trenitalia. In the context of FirstGroup's current experience, assumptions have been intently monitored, including back-testing of the precise efficiency of your present franchise service earlier than making any ultimate commitments. Throughout this time, the joint ventures targeted particularly on the potential financial efficiency of the partnership for a lot of potential situations and uncertainties, making an allowance for the challenges confronted by some franchising operators elsewhere on the UK nationwide rail community.

The West Coast Partnership proposal has been extensively reviewed by FirstGroup Board. It has examined and validated the supply assumptions in accordance with our commitment made on Might 30 to seek out the applicable stability of potential risks and benefits to our shareholders, bearing in mind our obligations with the joint venture with Trenitalia, that are absolutely dedicated to the franchise settlement. . The FirstGroup Board of Administrators remains properly aware of shareholders' considerations relating to the railways, but has unanimously concluded that signing a partnership settlement is in the interest of all shareholders.

Investor Info

A conference call can be held for buyers and analysts. at 9:00 as we speak. Call +44 (0) 20 7725 3354 prematurely of the name to register and obtain your subscription. The presentation package deal, together with the pdf model of this announcement, and the playback function are available at www.firstgroupplc.com/buyers.

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