National Express has soaring summer

The coach business of National Express has seen passenger numbers rise 6% in the period from 1 July 2018 to 30 September 2018.

Group revenue was up 9.5% in reported terms (8.9% in constant currency).

Strong trading performances were recorded in both its bus and coach businesses, having delivered accelerating divisional revenue growth of 5.3%. UK coach performed ‘outstandingly’ this summer, with core revenue increasing by 10.1% and passenger numbers growing 6%. On a like-for-like basis, UK coach revenue was up 9.4%. Its core coach network took over £5m in revenue for every week in August, for the first time ever. August bank holiday Monday’s revenue was up 13% alone.

National Express-owned The Kings Ferry acquired Stewarts in mid-September (see B&CB 1498, 21 September 2018). This acquisition is expected to expand its B2B operations among blue chip companies in the fast-growing M4 corridor. It also provides further opportunities in the in-bound tourist market, to complement its Clarkes of London services. It also provides synergy benefits with existing coach operations.

Its UK bus division saw commercial revenue increase by 1.1% and passengers grow by 0.5%.

Commercial revenue per mile increased by 4.1%.

Dean Finch, Group Chief Executive, said: “We had a good summer’s trading, with our UK coach business in particular delivering outstanding organic growth. Group revenue and profit are up strongly and we are carrying more passengers. We expect this momentum to continue in our traditionally quieter fourth quarter.

“With Spanish concession renewals further delayed, a major contract starting during 2019 in Rabat and encouraging pricing trends in North America, our outlook is positive. Our continued focus on cashflow and operational performance should allow us to continue to grow profit in the years ahead.”

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