- Train and bus transport company Stagecoach swung to a first-half profit after it sold its struggling US coach business, though its sales fell and it kept its dividend flat.

The company also announced that chairman Brian Souter would stand down at the end of the year and be replaced by current director Ray O'Toole.

Net profit for the six months through 26 October amounted to £54.8m, compared to a loss of £31.7m in the previous year, which included a deficit from discontinued operations of £71.9m.

Revenue fell by about a fifth to £800.2m, down from £1.01bn, and pre-tax profit from continuing operations fell to £66.6m, down from £73.1m.

Stagecoach kept its dividend steady at 3.8p per share.

'We are pleased to have delivered a solid set of financial results and further improvements for our customers over the first half of the financial year,' chief executive Martin Griffiths said.

'Our expectation of full-year adjusted earnings per share remains unchanged.' Story provided by