LONDON Jan 23 British transport operator
FirstGroup, which is facing pressure from an activist
investor to sell off its U.S. division, defended its business on
Thursday, saying that it was making progress in improving its
returns and growth prospects.
U.S. hedge fund Sandell Asset Management, which is pressing
for the company's breakup, has called for FirstGroup to provide
more detail on how it would engineer a turnaround.
In a statement, FirstGroup said it aims to increase group
revenue, excluding its UK rail business, at a faster rate, to
improve margins at its First Student and UK Bus units to double
digit levels, and to hit an overall post-tax return on capital
employed of 10-12 percent over the medium term.
"I am confident we are on the right track to increase the
resilience of the group and improve returns and growth prospects
for the benefit of all our stakeholders," Chief Executive Tim