STAGECOACH shares were up yesterday despite the news that the Scots transport giant may sell its North American arm.

The Perth group reported a £22.6 million pre-tax loss for the six months to the end of October.

That result was related to an £85.4m writedown on its US operation in light of revisions about its “long-term profitability”.

It is now in discussions about selling “all or part of” its US division. This includes the Coach USA and Coach Canada brands. Despite this, the share price increased by 12% yesterday morning and chief executive Martin Griffiths, pictured, below, said UK results were “encouraging”.

He said: “Targeted fleet and technology investment is helping to enhance operational delivery and improve cost efficiency. We continue to innovate across a range of areas including autonomous buses, contactless payment, data analytics and demand responsive transport.”

On rail operations, Griffiths went on: “We are well positioned in UK rail, with three live contract bids and more than 20 years’ experience of delivering innovation and investment for customers.

“We welcome the UK government’s rail review as an opportunity to deliver better value and day-to-day performance for passengers, a partnership structure and contracting system which is sustainable for the long-term, and reform of outdated regulations which are holding back customer-focused improvements.

“We are reviewing strategic options for the North America Division and that includes ongoing discussions regarding a possible sale of all or part of the business.

“The group is focused on making further progress in the second half of the year and we have increased our expectation of full-year adjusted earnings per share to reflect the above-forecast rail earnings in the first half of the year.”