East Anglia: National Express reports “strong” growth for 2011 so far

TRAIN, coach and bus operator National Express today reported increased revenue for 2011 so far across each of its businesses.

National Express (NX), whose rail business includes the East Anglia regional franchise, said overall revenue for the nine months to September 30 was up 5% on the same period last year.

The UK rail business achieved growth of 6%, assisted by increased availability of travel using the Oyster card payment system. NX said the benefit of this in revenue terms was enough to offset the resulting lower yields in terms of profit.

NX, which failed to make the shortlist of bidders for the new East Anglia franchise – which starts next year and has been awarded to Dutch company Abellio – said that, following clarification by the Government on future franchise tendering, it would be seeking to renew its c2c commuter service franchise in south Essex, which expires in 2013.

The group said its core National Express coach network in the UK had also achieved revenue growth of 6% so far this year while revenue from its UK bus business was up 2%.

Its coach and bus business in Spain had increase revenues by 7% while its school bus business in North America achieved 10% growth, assisted by new contracts.

NX said its financial position remained “robust”, enabling it to pursue its strategy of organic growth and expansion while retaining “strong resilience to cope with challenging economic conditions.”

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Group chief executive Dean Finch said: “We have continued the strong performance reported at the half-year in the third quarter. We have delivered good revenue growth and further improvements in efficiency, and we have clear plans to continue to improve revenue and profitability in the future.”