National Express Group PLC
2 May 2002
For immediate release at 12.05 noon, Thursday 2 May 2002
National Express Group PLC
Annual General Meeting - Trading Update
Commenting at today's AGM, Michael Davies, Chairman, made the following
'We are pleased with progress since the start of the year. At our preliminary
results we confirmed we had reached agreement with the Strategic Rail Authority
('SRA') in the UK and the Victorian Government in Australia to address issues
within our UK and Australian train and tram operations. Discussions continue
with the Victorian Government concerning the longer term viability of our
franchises and we expect to provide a further update at the announcement of our
interim results in the Autumn.
Good progress is being made within our UK bus and coach division. We continue to
work with Centro, the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive and the local
district councils to accelerate and extend Quality Partnerships to improve
further the quality of bus services.
Passenger revenue growth in our trains division for the first quarter of the
year was 4.8% higher than the equivalent period in 2000. This comparison
eliminates the direct effect of Hatfield in 2001. We remain confident that
sustainable levels of growth can be restored in the foreseeable future. We
continue to work with Railtrack to address the disproportionate number of
emergency speed restrictions and current level of engineering works that we are
We were pleased to make good progress on resolving the industrial dispute at
ScotRail and look forward to a positive outcome of the ASLEF referendum and the
subsequent removal of the emergency timetable.
In February we announced the signing of a £160 million order for the manufacture
and supply of twenty-three new trains for Midland Mainline franchise. This new
fleet will be fully in service by January 2005.
At the beginning of April we extended our investment in our train operations by
opening our new Customer Service Academy in Derby, the first such training
facility in the UK. This facility will become a centre of excellence for
training staff for Midland Mainline and longer term for train staff across the
Positive discussions are progressing on the Central Trains two-year franchise
extension. We await the next stage of the Wales and Borders franchise
negotiations and are preparing to respond to the SRA consultation on the Wessex
In March John Spellar, Minister of Transport, opened our new state of the art
£3.5 million coach station in Manchester in time for the commencement of the
Commonwealth Games. This is a fully disabled accessible facility and sets the
standard for future coach station developments already in the pipeline.
Progress within our overseas operations has been encouraging. As part of the
campaign to combat fare evasion in Melbourne, we have participated in two joint
operator 'fare blitz' evasion campaigns with a third planned this month.
In the USA where the bidding season for Autumn 2002 is reaching its end, we
remain in a strong position to continue the growth of the division.
We have made a good start to the year and we approach the rest of the year with
- ENDS -
For further information, please contact:
Nicola Marsden, Director of Group Communications
National Express Group PLC 020 7529 2000
Steve Jacobs/Ben Foster
Financial Dynamics 020 7831 3113
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