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FIRSTGROUP PLC: Statement re FirstGroup Rail Franchises


FIRSTGROUP PLC

(`FirstGroup' or `the Group')

Statement RE: FirstGroup Rail Franchises

In response to the announcement by the Department for Transport ('DfT') today, FirstGroup, the leading transport operator in the UK and North America, confirms the following with regard to its First Capital Connect, First Great Western and First TransPennine Express rail franchises.

The First Capital Connect franchise will continue beyond its current planned end date of 14 September 2013. As previously indicated the DfT are to exercise the option in the current contract of a 28 week extension. As well as this, we will continue our discussions in respect of an agreement for the franchise to continue for a further period of six months, to an end date of September 2014.

The First Great Western franchise will continue beyond its current end date of 31 March 2013. As previously announced, under the terms of the current franchise agreement the 28 week extension period will be activated. In addition we are in discussions with the DfT in respect of an agreement to continue the franchise for a further 33 months to July 2016.

The First TransPennine Express franchise will continue beyond its current end date of April 2015. We will begin discussions with the DfT regarding a ten month extension to the current franchise to February 2016.

Commenting, Tim O'Toole, Chief Executive said:

"The publication of the timetable setting out the return to rail franchising is an important development for the industry, enabling the private sector to continue to provide effective and efficient passenger rail services with further performance and infrastructure improvements. In particular, the extension of our First Capital Connect, First Great Western and First TransPennine Express franchises provides continuity and consistency for our passengers and enables us to continue to deliver considerable improvements to services.

"As the UK's largest and most experienced rail operator, we remain committed to maintaining a leading position in the market. We look forward to reviewing the details of the upcoming franchise competitions as they are announced, and submitting further high quality bids that deliver for passengers, taxpayers and shareholders."

Further information, FirstGroup:

Stuart Butchers, Group Corporate Communications Manager Tel: +44 7713 317979 / 020 7291 0507

Brunswick PR Michael Harrison/Andrew Porter, Tel: 020 7404 5959

END

-0- Mar/26/2013 08:00 GMT

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