National Express revenues up, with UK Bus division improving

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £8.99.

National Express has released a trading update for the period of January 1, 2017 to April 30, 2017, announcing that its overall revenue saw an increase from continuing operations of 5.4% on a constant currency basis.

Up 15.8% on a reported basis, the group said it was benefiting from organic growth and a number of bolt-on acquisitions made last year, together with significant ‘foreign exchange tailwinds.’ Group profit before tax was up year-on-year on a constant currency basis.

The UK Coach division benefitted from a real-time revenue management system and delivered an increase in patronage over the Easter break of 4%. Over the period, the division’s revenue increased by 2.7% year-on-year.

Overall, UK Bus commercial revenue declined by 0.5%. National Express cited challenging conditions experienced at the end of 2016, which continued in the early part of the year, with passenger numbers decreasing 0.7% in the period. However, it stated that it had seen a more encouraging performance recently, with commercial revenue now flat year-on-year and passenger numbers up 1% in the last six weeks.

The UK Bus division saw positive results from fare reductions in Sandwell and Dudley, with passenger growth already sufficient to yield overall revenue growth in the local area. As a result, fare reductions will be extended further across the West Midlands.

Growth in North America stood at 5.8%, helped by a high contract retention rate at 96%. Where contracts have been renegotiated or renewed, the operator secured an average price increase of 3.8%.

Dean Finch, Group Chief Executive, commented: “I am pleased we have maintained our strong momentum into 2017, with a good revenue performance driven by both organic growth and the benefit of our recent acquisitions.

“Our diversified portfolio is providing broad-based growth that is also providing additional opportunities for further expansion.

“We will continue to focus on operational excellence to drive our growth by both delivering high standard services for our customers and generating cash and returns that we can invest in future expansion. These opportunities will continue to be sought in a disciplined manner and we will only pursue them if they meet our strict financial criteria. We remain on track to meet our full year profit and cash flow expectations.”