National Express publishes positive trading update

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National Express has performed well in the first quarter of 2019, according to the financial results published in its latest trading update.

From 1 January to 30 April, revenue growth across the group averaged 8.3% on a constant currency basis, with UK coach performing well with 7% growth.

UK bus didn’t fare quite as well, only managing 1.8% revenue growth – the lowest of all the group’s divisions.

Spanish coach and bus operator ALSA was the highest-performing division, recording 11.8% revenue growth.

According to the report, the firm’s Spanish, Moroccan and Swiss divisions grew strongly; revenue over the Easter period was also up 9.1%, with passenger numbers up 5.5% over the same period last year.

Similarly, the UK Coach division performed well over Easter, with revenue growing by 7.1% and passenger numbers up 3.1%.

Growth in the bus division was driven by a 1.6% increase in commercial patronage and growth in tendered contracts, the company says. Commercial revenue per-mile was also up 4%.

Operator says its preparations for the Birmingham CAZ are well underway
Operator says its preparations for the Birmingham CAZ are well underway

National Express says it is ‘working closely’ with the relevant local authorities to prepare for the introduction of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) on 1 January 2020.

The entire bus fleet will be fully compliant before that date, and the company says it is ‘well-advanced’ in developing a plan to encourage modal shift in the city.

Dean Finch, Group Chief Executive, commented: “I am pleased all of our divisions have started 2019 in a positive manner and we have seen strong trading over the important Easter period.

“Organic revenue growth has been secured across all of our increasingly diversified international portfolio.

As our acquisition of a majority stake in WeDriveU demonstrates, this diversified international portfolio also continues to present new opportunities for further expansion, which we pursue when they meet our strict financial criteria.

“We will continue to focus on operational excellence to drive shareholder value, by both delivering high quality services for our customers and generating cash to invest in technological modernisation and future expansion.

“We remain on track to meet our full year profit and cash flow expectations.”