National Express on right track with strong revenue rise

Transport group National Express said revenues had grown 7 per cent in the first half of 2013, boosted by strong growth in North America and a recovering Spanish transport market.

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The bus and rail operator yesterday said revenues in North America, where it runs yellow school bus services, were up 19 per cent on last year.

National Express also said it had secured “significant” price increases on renewed contracts in the US.

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National Express said its North American transit business, which makes $75m (£49.2m) a year in revenues, has a bid success rate of 30 per cent and a bid pipeline worth some $200m of annual revenues.

In Spain, the company said demand had been affected by wider austerity but that “there are signs that the rate of decline is diminishing”. First half revenues in Spain rose 3 per cent.

Sales rose 30 per cent in Morocco, where the group is set to add Tangiers to existing coach operations in Marrakesh and Agadir.

The company’s UK rail business, which runs the c2c commuter line between London and Essex, continued to perform well, while its British bus business recovered from a slow first quarter to record a 3 per cent rise in underlying sales, it said.

The company said: “Commercial passenger volumes have grown and the reduction in the number of concession passengers is all but eliminated.”

National Express plans to bid for the full Essex Thameside rail contract later this year and has been shortlisted for the Crossrail bid process expected to start later this year, with the winner to be announced at the end of 2014.

The company also said it had started the mobilisation of the two German rail contracts secured earlier this year and due to start in December 2015.