NatEx trading improves
Trading in the third quarter of 2013 improved across National Express Group. Revenue grew 5% in the quarter and 3% in the year to date. In the company’s UK Bus business, like-for-like commercial revenue went up 3% in the third quarter, with passenger numbers 2% higher. An ‘exceptional’ performance was reported in its UK Coach division in the third quarter. The August Bank Holiday week was the best on record for passenger volume and revenue. Core express revenue in the year to date was up 5%. Growth in the third quarter rose 9%, almost entirely from passenger volume. The improved utilisation of its services has benefited from lower prices introduced in the third quarter of last year. To support this, the operator has invested in greater distribution, including several new partnerships with airports and ticket retailing through over 11,000 Post Office branches nationwide. UK Coach fully offset £10m of non-repeating Olympic and Rail Replacement revenue from the third quarter of 2012.
The company is continuing to target patronage growth through investments in its fleet, technology and partnership with West Midlands transport authority, Centro. Last month, it received delivery of its first new tram, part of a £140m publicly funded upgrade to the existing metro network.
Group Chief Executive, Dean Finch, said, ‘We continue to perform well, driving passenger growth, increasing revenue and focusing our investment where it makes the biggest difference to our customers. With our strong cash generation and our developing pipeline of capital light opportunities, we are well positioned to generate significant further value.’