Confidence rises along with first-half profits at National Express

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British transport company National Express said it was on course to meet its expectations for the year, after growing operating profit 4.5 per cent in the first half.

The company, which operates rail services in Britain as well as school buses in the United States, said excluding rail and Middle East bid costs underlying operating profit rose to £93.5m on a constant currency basis.

Dean Finch, National Express Group chief executive, said: “We have made a strong start to 2015 and are on track to deliver the Board’s expectations for the year. We are focused on driving best value for our customers, employees and shareholders and are passionately committed to the communities we serve.

“The success in winning additional German rail contracts and the launch of bus services in Bahrain demonstrates further progress in opening new growth markets.”

National Express raised its interim dividend by 10 per cent to 3.685 pence and said it was confident on future growth after winning additional German rail contracts and launching a bus service in Bahrain.

Mr Finch added: “These results demonstrate the benefit of our recent focus on both improving our services to customers and securing sustainable cash flows from our businesses.

“This enables us now to invest further in growth and at the same time, increase our dividend.

“We will continue to strive constantly to improve the value of the services we provide to our customers and deliver growth across the whole business. This, coupled with our contract wins, will continue to drive shareholder value.”