National Express is focusing on growth in North America this year, after a rise in 2014 pre-tax profit on a strong performance in its UK bus and coach operations.
The company, whose interests include the Dundee bus fleet, reported a 7% rise in pre-tax profit to £145.5 million eliminating exchange rate fluctuations.
The performance was slightly ahead of forecast, helped by revenue growth across all divisions.
Group revenue increased 2% to £1.87 billion on a constant currency basis.
Last year it focused on debt reduction, which went down by over £80m to £664.3m, and dividend growth which went up 3% to 10.3 pence.
Passenger revenue in the UK Coach division was up 4% and profit grew in North America with a strong second half offsetting the impact of bad weather in the first half.
The North American school bus business has more than doubled its profitability in the last five years.
On rail, two more German contracts worth more than £6bn of revenue to 2029 were secured, and the Essex Thameside rail franchise had been retained.
A 10-year contract for bus services in Bahrain has begun in the growing Middle East market, and major contracts have been kept in the US and Spain.
Chief executive Dean Finch said: “Every division is carrying more passengers and has grown revenue.
“This strong performance means we are in an excellent position to continue to exploit new opportunities.
“Our North American business provides us with a strong platform for further growth.
“Coupled with the opportunity for further growth in German Rail and the Middle East, I am optimistic about the future prospects of the business.”
The group’s principal defined benefit pension schemes including the Tayside Transport Superannuation Fund had a combined deficit down £18m to £11.9m.
A plan to bring the plan to self-sufficiency was agreed with the trustees in 2010, with National Express contributing £4.2m per annum and UK Bus agreeing a £5.5m annual deficit repayment.
The fuel bill for National Express coaches in 2014 was £167m, 10% of related revenue, at an average fuel cost of 49 pence per litre.
A forward fuel buying policy was implemented but the fall in the price of crude oil resulted in a liability of £71m.
The group said this will be offset by the lower price paid for fuel in 2015-2017.