Half Year Results for the six months ended 30 June 2013
National Express Group PLC ("National Express" or "the Group") is a leading international public transport operator, with bus, coach and rail services in the UK, Continental Europe, North Africa and North America.
National Express’ first Half Year has seen a record performance in non-rail profit. This has helped mitigate significant headwinds and the end of a rail contract. This performance has been augmented by a particularly successful six months securing new contracts and starting new services.
The first Half Year has seen National Express successfully:
- Secure £1.7 billion of contract wins, including: two German Rail services; four US Transit services; bus services in Tangiers; and a new Luton Airport-London Victoria coach service
- Integrate the Petermann acquisition in North America with the school bus business now running at nearly double the 2009 operating margin
- Deliver revenue growth in Spain and Morocco, including profitable new services in Guadalajara and Bilbao
- Extend the c2c rail franchise until September 2014 and be shortlisted for the Crossrail contract
- Deliver nearly 10% passenger growth on the core National Express coach network
|Non-rail operating profit||92.4||90.0|
|Group operating profit||97.2||105.5|
|Group pre-tax profit||71.8||82.0|
|Statutory profit for tax||34.3||39.8|
- Record non-rail performance in revenue and operating profit for the first Half Year.
- Non-rail revenue up 10% and operating profit up 2.7%.
- Substantially mitigated significant headwinds of nearly £20 million of cost inflation, the ongoing impact from government cuts and the end of the National Express East Anglia (NXEA) rail franchise in 2012.
- Delivered over £90 million of free cash flow in the first Half Year and increased Full Year target to £150 million.
- Group net debt reduced to £809.4 million (31 December 2012: £828.2m).
- Interim dividend increased 3% to 3.25 pence per share (2012: 3.15p).
- National Express remains on track to reduce its net debt to its target of 2x EBITDA by the end of 2014.
Dean Finch, National Express Group Chief Executive, said:
“In tough trading conditions National Express has continued to make real strides at home and abroad. We have had to address some significant headwinds in our existing markets while continuing to build a strong pipeline of new business opportunities. Our commitment to operational excellence has helped us to secure £1.7 billion in new contract wins in the past six months alone. And our recent successes in Germany demonstrate that we are well placed to benefit from further liberalisation in Europe.
“We are determined to make further progress on our debt reduction target and are pleased by our excellent cash generation. Our focus remains on delivering both excellent services for our customers and returns for our shareholders in the months and years to come.”
National Express Group PLC
|Jez Maiden, Group Finance Director||0121 460 8657|
|Stuart Morgan, Head of Investor Relations||0121 460 8657|
|Anthony Vigor, Director of Policy and External Affairs||07767 425822|
|Neil Bennett / Rebecca Mitchell||020 7379 5151|
Unless otherwise stated, all profit, margin and EPS data refer to normalised results, which can be found on the face of the Group Income Statement in the first column. The definition of normalised profit is as follows: statutory result excluding charges for goodwill impairment, intangible asset amortisation, exceptional items and tax relief thereon. The Board believes that the normalised result gives a better indication of the underlying performance of the Group.
EBITDA is ‘Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation’. It is calculated by taking normalised operating profit and adding depreciation, fixed asset grant amortisation, normalised profit on disposal of non-current assets and share-based payments.
Free cash flow measures the cash generated after paying all non-discretionary payments such as interest and tax, but before discretionary items, such as growth and exceptional investments, acquisitions and dividends. A reconciliation is set out in the Financial Review.
Net debt is defined as cash and cash equivalents (cash overnight deposits and other short-term deposits), and other debt receivables, offset by borrowings (loan notes, bank loans and finance lease obligations) and other debt payable (excluding accrued interest).