NatEx’s ‘strong progress’

National Express Group Plc has continued to make ‘strong progress’ in the period from 1 July 2016 to 30 September 2016, according to its latest financial results. Both revenue and profit are up year-on-year in constant currency, with operating profit up 9% in the third quarter driven by particularly strong performances in its overseas businesses. Year to date, like-for-like Group operating profit is 5% higher on a constant currency basis and up 12% on a reported basis. Group revenue is up 11% year to date on a constant currency basis and up 17% on a reported basis. Year to date Group profit before tax is up 15%. It remains on target to generate at least £100m of free cash flow for the year.

Commercial revenue in National Express’s UK Bus business was up 2%. Three further ‘Platinum’ routes were launched during the period. These were delivered alongside other improvements, such as prioritisation measures secured through its Bus Alliance with Transport for West Midlands. Its ten Platinum routes have together secured double digit passenger growth, helping to offset headwinds from increased congestion. It plans to launch a further five of these routes in 2016.

Core revenue was up 1.7% in UK Coach in the year to date, having continued strong performance on its airport routes, which are up 20% year on year, having helped offset strong competition especially from rail discounting and lower demand on Eurolines. Its Bahraini Bus operations have seen continued growth and have now carried over 15m passengers since the launch of operations in 2015.

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