SOME of the UK’s biggest transport companies have scrapped dividend payments to investors as they struggle with profits due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Perth-based Stagecoach warned investors should not expect a payout, while Aberdeen-based FirstGroup suspended its financial guidance.

Stagecoach said it doesn’t expect to meet its earnings expectations for the 2020 financial year as the virus keeps commuters away from public transport. It is too early to reliably predict the effect the pandemic might have on profit, it warned, but it told shareholders further dividends are unlikely this year.

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The company is in talks with Transport for London to change the details of its contract. The board will take a 50% pay cut and members are forsaking their bonuses, while no new non-essential staff will be hired.

FirstGroup said it is no longer able to give guidance for the remainder of its financial year, which ends March 31.

“In recent days the group has seen unprecedented changes in the market environments for all its businesses,” a statement from the company reads.

“There have been substantial volume reductions in our passenger demand businesses in North America and the UK.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle-based Go-Ahead Group said it is slashing its capital spending and has suspended its proposed dividend.

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Chief executive David Brown said: “Go-Ahead provides vital services, moving and connecting people to their communities across our networks.

“These services have become increasingly important to those working in essential roles such as NHS workers, emergency services and those in the food supply chain.”

He added the company will use its unwanted buses to transport NHS workers and support supermarkets.

Yesterday, UK ministers announced rail franchise agreements will be suspended for at least six months to ensure train companies do not collapse.