National Express Group PLC
27 April 2000
National Express Group PLC
Annual General Meeting - Statement
Commenting at today's AGM, Michael Davies, Chairman, made the following
'I am pleased to announce that all of the Group's operating divisions are
trading in line with expectations. The positive growth trends experienced in
1999 have continued into the first few months of this year and passenger
numbers are up on last year's levels.
Our UK bus division continues to report passenger growth. This is a direct
result of our policy of working in partnership with local authorities to
improve the quality of services across the West Midlands' bus network. Our
fourth and largest Quality Partnership corridor, a key section of which was
launched a year ago, is attracting double-digit growth in passenger numbers.
Two projects have been completed under our West Midlands Infrastructure
Investment Partnership. These schemes will reduce bus journey times and will
increase ridership by making our services more attractive to more people.
Our UK trains division has recorded a 10% increase in passenger revenue on
1999 levels for the first three months of 2000. We have introduced a further
11 new trains bringing the total number of new trains now in service to 58.
The remaining 64 will be operating by the end of this year, bringing the final
total of new trains to 122. We were pleased with the SSRA's announcement of 19
April which confirmed that we had qualified to bid for our existing Central
Trains passenger rail franchise and the new Trans-Pennine franchise. We
believe that we can make a major contribution to the long-term development of
the railway network provided we can be satisfied that such a long-term
commitment to passenger rail services can deliver good returns to our
AirLinks, our airport coaching operation, has won new contracts for the
movement of airline crew at Heathrow and Gatwick airports and passenger
transfers between car parks and the terminal buildings. These contracts
further enhance AirLinks' position as a premier supplier of high quality bus
and coach services to our airport and airline customers.
At East Midlands Airport in the UK, the new DHL facility is operational and
strong growth in cargo tonnage for the first quarter was recorded. In the USA,
the 99 year lease of Stewart Airport in New York State commenced on 31 March
2000. We began operating the airport on 1 April and look forward to
implementing the plans we have in place for its development.
Our USA bus businesses continue to perform well. The integration of our
student transportation and public transit bus divisions is progressing well
and we have achieved annualised savings of $2m to date.
In Australia we have placed orders for 62 new trains and 59 new trams for our
Melbourne operations worth £193m and we will be ordering a further 25 new
trains worth £70m later this year. The new vehicles are to be delivered from
There are many opportunities for growth in the international public transport
market. The quality and strength of the Group's operations, together with our
financial headroom will enable us to capitalise on these opportunities. We are
confident that 2000 will be another successful year for National Express.'
For further information, please contact:
Phil White, Chief Executive
William Rollason, Finance Director
Helen McCorry, Group Communications Manager
National Express Group PLC 020 7529 2000
Nicola Marsden/ Steve Jacobs
Financial Dynamics 020 7831 3113