Improved profit at National Express

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National Express has seen a record performance in non-rail profit according to its latest Half Year results.

Operating profits at its bus and coach services rose to £92.4m. Performance was helped by strong growth in UK Coach and US Bus services, which offset a drop in operating profits at UK Bus to £15m and a fall to £34.6m in Spain.

This is in due in part to £1.7bn of contract wins which include two German rail services, four US transit services, bus services in Tangiers and the new Luton Airport-London Victoria coach service.

Furthermore, the integration of the Petermann acquisition in North America with the school bus operation means the business is running at nearly double the 2009 operating margin.

Growth in Spain and Morocco has come in the form of profitable new services in Guadalajara and Bilbao.

In addition, the firm delivered nearly 10% passenger growth on the core National Express coach network and non-rail revenue is up 10% and operating profit up 2.7%. Group net debt has been reduced to £809.4m.

Dean Finch, National Express Group Chief Executive, said:

“In tough trading conditions National Express has continued to make real strides at home and abroad. We have had to address some significant headwinds in our existing markets while continuing to build a strong pipeline of new business opportunities. Our commitment to operational excellence has helped us to secure £1.7bn in new contract wins in the past six months alone. And our recent successes in Germany demonstrate that we are well placed to benefit from further liberalisation in Europe.

“We are determined to make further progress on our debt reduction target and are pleased by our excellent cash generation. Our focus remains on delivering both excellent services for our customers and returns for our shareholders in the months and years to come.”