Corporate news releases

Half Year Results for the six months ended 30 June 2010
29 Jul 2010

National Express Group PLC ("National Express" or the "Group"), a leading international public transport group, operates bus and coach services across the UK, continental Europe/North Africa and North America, together with rail services in the UK.

Highlights

A strong first half performance, building on a stable financial platform, a clear margin improvement plan, a selective investment programme and a proactive approach to meeting the needs of all our stakeholders.

  • Good results in a challenging macro-economic environment
  • Stable underlying revenue, with organic growth in UK Coach and success in winning new customer contracts in North America for the 2010/11 school year
  • Improved operating margins in UK, North America and Spanish businesses
  • Profit recovery as business improvement plans begin to deliver
  • Continued reduction in net debt through ongoing cash generation
  • Refinancing successfully completed, with funding in place until 2014
  • Exploring opportunities to extend our two rail franchises
  • Expect to recommence dividend at year end, subject to continued trading performance.

Financial summary

Normalised result
Half year ended 30 June 2010 2009 Change
 
Revenue (£m) 1,059.6 1,424.5 -26%
Group operating profit (£m) 95.7 73.8 +30%
Share of results from associates (£m) 0.3 0.1 +200%
Net finance costs (£m) (20.3) (18.2) -12%
Profit before taxation (£m) 75.7 55.7 +36%
Operating margin 9.0% 5.2% +73%
Net debt (£m) 601.1 977.5
-39%
Basic earnings per share (pence) 11.4 14.5 -21%
Statutory profit/(loss) for the period (£m) 19.4 (36.6) n/a

 

Comment

Commenting on the results, Dean Finch, National Express Group Chief Executive, said:

"Progress in the first half has been good. With a strong financial platform, National Express is now delivering the benefits from its business improvement programmes. Despite challenging economic conditions, greater operational focus is having a positive impact and we will continue to progressively drive improvement in performance and cut costs.

We have secured growth opportunities, particularly in North America and Spain, in which we will selectively invest in the second half of the year. We expect trading to remain resilient in the next six months and we look to the future with confidence."

Enquiries:

National Express Group PLC
Jez Maiden, Group Finance Director 0121 460 8657
Nicole Lander, Group Director of Communications 0121 460 8401

Maitland
Neil Bennett / George Hudson 020 7379 5151


Definitions

Operating margin: the ratio of normalised operating profit to revenue for continuing businesses.

Normalised result: Statutory result excluding profit or loss on the sale of business, exceptional profit or loss on sale of non-current assets and charges for goodwill impairment, intangible asset amortisation, exceptional items and tax relief thereon, for continuing operations. The Board believes that the normalised result gives a better indication of the underlying performance of the Group.

Underlying revenue compares the current year with the prior year on a consistent basis, after adjusting for the impact of currency, acquisitions, disposals and rail franchises no longer operated.