National Express Group PLC Interim Management Statement
National Express Group PLC ("National Express" or "the Group"), a leading international public transport group, operates bus and coach services in the UK, continental Europe, North Africa, North America and the Middle East, together with rail services in the UK. It today reports its Interim Management Statement for the period from 1 January 2015 to date.
The Group has made a good start to the year with revenue up 4% (in constant currency) and we are on track to deliver our profit and cash expectations for the year. Pleasingly, all divisions have delivered revenue growth, supported by rising passenger demand.
Performance highlights include:
- Growth in revenue across all divisions with passenger volumes up 2%
- Group profit ahead year-on-year after adjusting for one-off costs of adverse weather in North America and the strike in Spain last year, and also after absorbing increased premium charges in c2c in 2015
- Gearing is lower than in the same period last year and we remain on target to generate £100 million of free cash flow in 2015
- Strong financial performance in UK Bus, supported by passenger demand and cost control
- Encouraging start to the new c2c franchise ahead of the bid plan, with passenger volume growth of 4% and revenue growth of 10% boosted by good growth in peak and off-peak travel
- Revenue management in Spain delivering growth of 4% in revenue and 7% in passenger volume on actively managed routes – further roll out ongoing
- Strong growth in Morocco with revenue up 17%, driven by the scaling-up of operations in Tangier
- Continued strong contract retention in North America School Bus at 99% coupled with an average price increase of 5% in the current bid season, offsetting wage pressures
- New contract wins in UK Coach to operate from Stansted Airport and with British Airways to provide transport services for passengers and crew across the UK
- 1 million passenger journeys delivered in Bahrain since the successful mobilisation of our bus service operations in February
£12 billion pipeline:
- Submitted a further bid in German rail for Rhine Ruhr Express (“RRX”), a 15 year contract with revenues in excess of €2 billion and pre-qualified for a number of other franchise bids
- Nuremburg S-Bahn decision remains in appeal
- Submitted PQQ for East Anglia rail franchise bidder shortlist
- Submitted a joint bid to operate a 400 vehicle urban bus service contract in Makkah, Saudi Arabia
- Preparing bid for Lisbon Bus and Metro franchises
Dean Finch, Group Chief Executive, commented:
"We have made a good start to 2015 and are on track to deliver the Board’s expectations for the full year. The results reflect our ongoing commitment to deliver excellent operational performance and customer service. We continue to drive our strategy to develop opportunities in existing and new markets with a number of exciting bids submitted since the start of the year and our plans for further bids are progressing well. We have seen the successful mobilisation of our operations in Bahrain, our first bus service contract in the Middle East, which we see as an important stepping stone towards further growth in the region.
We continue to see Germany as an important market for our ambitions in rail and see prospects for further growth there. We believe that, in time, German Rail will make a significant contribution to Group earnings. Around the world, whether as a result of privatisations in Western countries or pressure for improved public transport in developing and emerging economies, we see a range of exciting opportunities for us. Our portfolio of assets uniquely positions National Express to exploit these opportunities.
Cash generation remains strong and we are well placed to seek new avenues of growth, enabling us to continue to deliver shareholder value. In light of this and our long-term future in rail, we will review our dividend policy as the year progresses.”
The Group will announce its results for the six months to 30 June 2015 on Wednesday 29 July 2015. There is no scheduled trading update before that announcement.
National Express Group PLC
|Matthew Ashley, Group Finance Director||0121 460 8655|
|Anthony Vigor, Director of Policy and External Affairs||07767 425822|
|Louise Richardson, Investor Relations Manager||07827 807766|
|020 7379 5151|
|Rebecca Mitchell||07951 057351|
Unless otherwise indicated, revenue is stated on an underlying basis, which compares the current year with the prior year on a consistent basis, after adjusting for the impact of currency, acquisitions and disposals.
Profit is stated on a normalised basis, before exceptional costs and intangible asset amortisation (as defined in the press release for the Full Year results for the year ended 31 December 2014).