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National Express (NEX)

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Monday 22 October, 2001

National Express

Trading Statement

National Express Group PLC
22 October 2001

22nd October, 2001



                          National Express Group PLC

                                Trading Update



Following an assessment of the likely impact of the tragic events in the USA
on 11 September, the recent developments at Railtrack PLC and a review of our
businesses in Australia, National Express announces the following trading
update.


Whilst trading for the year ended 31 December 2001 will only be marginally
below current market expectations, the combined effect of these developments
is likely to have a greater impact on profitability for the year ended 31
December 2002.


This is as a result of the following factors:


  * 11 September.  Since the terrorist attacks, there has been a significant
    decrease in levels of in-bound USA traffic through Gatwick airport.
    Although difficult to assess when confidence will return to this market,
    indications to date suggest there will be a material effect on Gatwick
    Express' profits in 2002.  In addition, there has been a downturn in
    leisure and discretionary travel following the attacks which will impact
    on the performance of our UK train operations.



    Trading at Travel West Midlands continues in line with expectations and in  
    the UK coach division, there has been no material change in volumes since 11
    September.



    Within the USA, our school bus and transit operations continue to perform in
    line with expectations. We have not seen any change in levels of business
    since 11 September as we take no revenue risk on our contracts.



    We are currently reviewing our worldwide insurance cover, which is due on 31
    October each year.  The terrorist attacks in the USA have fundamentally
    affected the whole insurance market.  This is likely to result in a doubling
    of the Group's worldwide insurance premiums to £30 million.



  * Railtrack.  At the time of our interim statement we advised that a
    year's growth on rail had been lost as a result of temporary speed
    restrictions ('TSRs') that had been introduced following the Hatfield
    accident.  Future growth will depend on a return of customer confidence in
    rail travel.  This will only be achieved if passengers are convinced that
    pre-Hatfield levels of punctuality and reliability have been restored.



   Moreover, our trains' division continues to be affected by significant       
   numbers of TSRs imposed by Railtrack across the network.  There are still 700
   TSRs on the network of which 450 are on our franchises. Silverlink, which is 
   also being affected by the West Coast Main Line upgrade, and WAGN are still
   suffering extreme disruption. Reliability and punctuality remain severely
   impacted.



    Unfortunately, it is expected that this situation will not improve
    significantly in the short to medium-term as Railtrack has estimated that
    there will still be over 500 TSRs on the network until March 2002 at the
    earliest.  Therefore, we believe that it is unlikely that we will see a     
    return of passenger growth during 2002.



    Our franchise subsidy declines by a further £35 million in 2002.



 *  Australian operations.  We have been working to address three key
    issues in our Melbourne train and tram businesses - the adverse effect of   
    the introduction of the goods and service tax ('GST') in June 2000; the     
    failure to achieve significant improvements in labour productivity; and the 
    levels of endemic fare evasion across the metropolitan system, which are    
    higher than expected and are proving difficult to rectify.  Furthermore,    
    there has been a recent deterioration in the Victorian economy following    
    several recent large corporate failures.



    In conjunction with our fellow franchisees we are actively working on a     
    range of initiatives to tackle fare evasion more effectively and launch     
    joint marketing schemes to stimulate growth in the metropolitan area.  We   
    are also working on other proposals in partnership with the Victorian       
    Government.



    Our franchises receive a reducing annual subsidy from the Victorian
    Government, which in 2002 will decline by A$30 million  (£12.5 million).



    Performance at the Australian bus division continues to be in line with
    expectations and, therefore, we expect that overall our Australian          
    operations will be marginally profitable in 2002.


Phil White, Chief Executive said:


'The uncertainty following the events of 11 September has impacted our UK
train operations, which also continue to be severely affected by the
continuing effects of network disruption following Hatfield.  We believe that
patronage growth, particularly in the leisure and discretionary sector, will
only return when punctuality and reliability levels are back at the
pre-Hatfield levels.


The Group's profitability has been further effected by the unprecedented
increase in our insurance premia worldwide.


The recent deterioration in the Victorian economy, compounded by several
recent large corporate failures, and increased fare evasion, continue to
restrict growth.  However, together with our fellow franchisees and the
Victorian Government, we are developing a package of initiatives with a view
to addressing the issues.



Despite the difficulties of our rail businesses, our bus and coach businesses
worldwide remain strong and I am confident of the Group's longer term
prospects.'


                               -  ENDS -


There will be an analyst conference call at 0900 hours.  For details please
contact Ben Foster/Abigail Forbes at Financial Dynamics on 020 7269 7247/020
7269 7211.

For further information, please contact:


Phil White, Chief Executive
William Rollason, Finance Director
Nicola Marsden, Director of Group

Communications
National Express Group PLC                                020 7529 2000


Andrew Dowler/Ben Foster
Financial Dynamics                                        020 7831 3113