Corporate news releases

Full Year Results for the year ended 31 December 2009
25 Feb 2010

Resilient performance and foundations laid for the future

National Express Group PLC, a leading international public transport group, operates bus and coach services across the UK, Spain and North America, and rail services in the UK.

John Devaney, National Express Group Chairman, said:

"In 2009 National Express faced many challenges and resolved its major issues - reducing debt, ending our rail losses, navigating takeover interest, progressing our refinancing and recruiting a new Chief Executive to take us forward.

"Whilst 2010 will be another challenging year in a difficult economic environment, we are focused on delivering margin improvement through cost reduction, continuing strong cash generation, and building on the foundations that we have laid in 2009. With significant scope to improve our business, especially in UK Bus and North America, while building on our successes in Spain and UK Coach, we will drive forward our performance and deliver value for our shareholders."

Delivering key milestones

  • Group successfully deleveraged - net debt reduced by £521.9 million to £657.9 million (2008: £1,179.8m)
  • Incremental cash generation of over £200 million delivered in 2009, well ahead of £100 million target set in February 2009
  • Costs cut by £50 million per annum, ahead of £40 million target
  • Successful £375 million rights issue completed in December 2009
  • Refinancing of reduced debt well underway; successful launch of heavily over-subscribed debut £350 million 7-year Sterling bond issue in January 2010
  • Completed exit from East Coast rail franchise; remaining two profitable rail franchises retained until 2011
  • Strong profit growth delivered in UK Coach; resilient performance in Spain
  • Appointed new Group Chief Executive, Dean Finch, to drive forward strategy of margin improvement, cash generation and selective, value-adding growth.

Financial performance



2009 2008
 
Revenue £2,711.1m £2,767.0m
Normalised* profit before taxation from continuing operations £116.2m £202.4m
Normalised basic earnings per share 30.5p 48.9p
Operating cash flow** £281.3m £152.3m
Statutory profit/(loss) (£52.7m) £119.7m
Full year dividend - 10.0p

 

 

Outlook

  • Stabilised business, despite continuing challenging economic conditions
  • Continued focus on cost reduction and cash generation to drive performance - full year benefit of £50 million cost saving programme, together with new efficiency savings and £24 million reduction in fuel costs
  • Spain and UK Coach to build on 2009 performance
  • Clear actions to improve margins in UK Bus and North America; North America recovery programme refocused on cost saving and areas of greatest value impact

Enquiries:

National Express Group PLC
Jez Maiden, Group Finance Director 020 7506 4324
Nicole Lander, Group Director of Communications 0121 460 8401

Maitland
Neil Bennett / George Hudson 020 7379 5151


Notes:
*Normalised results are the statutory results 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.

**Operating cash flow is intended to be the cash flow equivalent to normalised operating profit. Operating cash flow is normalised operating profit, plus depreciation, movements in working capital and proceeds from disposals of property, plant and equipment, less finance lease additions, purchase of property plant and equipment and purchase of intangible assets.

There will be a presentation for investors and analysts at 0900 on 25 February 2010 at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, 2 King Edward Street, London EC1A 1HQ. A webcast will be available at www.nationalexpressgroup.com