Corporate news

Major announcements from National Express Group PLC.

Interim Results for the six months ended 30 June 2008
31 Jul 2008

National Express Group PLC, a leading international public transport group, today announces interim results

Highlights

  • Significant earnings growth over 2007, with normalised diluted earnings per share up 12.3%
  • Interim dividend increased by 10% to 12.72 pence, in line with previous dividend commitment
  • Successful start up of the National Express East Coast franchise and subsequent revenue growth of 11%
  • Highly successful bid season in North America, with 95% retention of existing business and inroads into the conversion market
  • Strong performance in the enlarged Spanish business, following the integration of Continental Auto into our Alsa operation in Spain
  • Strong like for like revenue growth across UK Bus (7%) and Coach (5%) with continued excellent performance of Quality Partnership routes

Financial Results

  • Revenue up 4.4% to £1,367.2 million (2007: £1,309.3 million)
  • Group operating profit of £70.8 million (2007: £77.0 million)
  • Normalised operating profit* up 25.7% to £113.9 million (2007: £90.6 million)
  • Normalised profit before tax* up 13.9% to £90.0 million (2007: £79.0 million)
  • Normalised diluted earnings per share* from continuing operations up 12.3% to 42.8 pence (2007: 38.1 pence)
  • Interim dividend increased by 10.0% to 12.72 pence (2007: 11.56 pence)
  • Net debt of £1,029.3 million (31 December 2007: £910.8 million)

* excluding profit or loss on the sale of businesses and charges for intangible asset amortisation, exceptional items and tax relief on qualifying exceptional items.

Commenting on current trading and prospects, David Ross, Chairman, said:

"Over the last six months the Group has traded well. We are benefitting from our customer knowledge and ability to capitalise on new opportunities. In the UK our trains business is seeing good growth. The performance of National Express East Coast, together with revenue growth of 11%, is a source of great confidence. We are delighted by the performance of our enlarged Spanish business following the integration of Continental Auto, and forward bookings remain strong. This means we are the leading private sector provider of public transport operations and are in a good place to take advantage of the liberalisation of the transport market. In North America we are moving forward on Business Transformation which we believe will put us in a position to be the leading provider of school bus operations in North America.

As we enter the second half and whilst recognising the wider economic climate, we are encouraged by the Group's prospects and remain confident that we will deliver full year results in line with expectations."

For further information, please contact:

National Express Group PLC
Richard Bowker, Chief Executive
Gareth Wright, Acting Group Finance Director +44 (0)20 7506 4324
Nicole Lander, Communications Director +44 (0)121 460 8401

Maitland
Neil Bennett/Suzanne Bartch/Brian Hudspith +44 (0)20 7379 5151

 

  • There will be an analyst and investor meeting at 0900 hours on 31 July 2008 at City Presentation Centre, 4 Chiswell Street, Finsbury Square, London EC1Y 4UP.
  • A webcast of the analyst presentation will be available on our website www.nationalexpressgroup.com at 0900 hours on 31 July 2008.
  • High resolution images can be accessed at www.vismedia.co.uk
  • For general media enquiries please call 0121 460 8426/8419