Lothian delivers £6.6m dividend to council owners

Lothian Buses, the UK’s largest municipal arms length company, has returned an increased dividend to its four local authority shareholders.

It made an £11.9milllion profit last year, up 86% from £6.4million in 2015, on turnover up by 2.8% to £146million. Operating profit margin was up by nearly one third to 9%, which compares favourably with the 11.9% that Stagecoach achieved in 2016/17 on its UK Bus operations outside London.

This allowed Lothian to increase its shareholders’ dividend from £5.5million to £6.6million. The company is owned 91% by City of Edinburgh Council, the other 9% by East Lothian, West Lothian and Midlothian councils.

The results include the contribution of East Coast Buses, established to take over East Lothian services from First Scotland East in August last year. It says the new company carried over 1.1million passengers last year and continues to exceed initial projected expectations.

Lothian invested £14.1million in its property and on the purchase of 55 new Euro6 vehicles for local bus routes and its Edinburgh Bus Tours sightseeing subsidiary.