National Express drives profits


National Express drives profits
Transport group National Express has said it expects to report a full-year result at the top end of market expectations.

In a pre-close update, the company confirmed it had traded strongly across all three of its operating regions during the second-half.

The bus and train operator revealed it had delivered an "exceptional operational performance" within the UK, where its sales had been boosted by strategic fare initiatives.

National Express said it achieved like-for-like revenue growth of 11 per cent across its UK train operations, six per cent on its buses and further like-for-like sales growth of six per cent on its scheduled coach services.

The company also said it had begun the integration of its UK businesses into one division, as part of its Making Travel Simpler pledge. The new combined division will be launched in the new year, National Express confirmed.

It stressed the last three months had been "exceptionally busy" for the company in the UK, with the firm launching its new East Coast rail franchise service and acquiring the Kings Ferry Group - a Kent-based coach company - over the period.

National Express said its Spanish bus and coach operations had also traded well in the second-half, with the company expecting to report full-year passenger growth of four per cent in the market.

The company also revealed it had started operating 14 new contracts in North America, where it operates school bus services.

Commenting on the group's recent performance, National Express said: "We end the year positively with strong ongoing cash flow generation and therefore remain confident for the group's future prospects during 2008."

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