Transportation operator Go-Ahead has apologized for the “serious flaws” in its Southeastern Railway franchise as it delayed its results and prepared to suspend trading of its shares after not declaring money owed to the government for years.
Ministers stripped the British train and bus operator of the franchise in late September after discovering that Go-Ahead had not declared more than £ 25 million in taxpayer funds that should have been returned since 2014.
Go-Ahead said on Thursday that an independent review had confirmed that its rail business had failed to notify the Department for Transport of payments due and therefore had breached its contractual obligations under the UK rail franchise system.
“The review has found that London and South Eastern Railways made serious mistakes regarding their commitment to the DfT over several years. . . accordingly, the Group has apologized, ”Go-Ahead said.
The undeclared funding, which has now been repaid, was originally discovered by a government official. They refer to unreturned government financial support to cover access fees to the tracks of High Speed 1, the rail link connecting London to the Channel Tunnel through south-east England, according to two people familiar with it. with the matter.
Go-Ahead operated the Southeast franchise through Govia, a joint venture with France’s Keolis.
Given the chaos in its rail business, Go-Ahead said Thursday that it did not know when it would be able to release its annual results, which were originally due to be released on September 30.
Deloitte, the company’s auditor, has said it won’t be able to complete the audit before January 3, the latest date allowed for UK regulators to release the results.
Therefore, Go-Ahead has requested suspension of its shares on January 4 until the results are completed, which is now expected before the end of January.