National Express Group PLC
08 July 2003
Embargoed for release at 0700 hours on Tuesday 8 July 2003
National Express Group PLC
National Express Group today reports on trading for the six month period ended
30 June 2003, prior to entering its close period. We are pleased with our
performance over the period and confirm that trading for the half year remains
in line with management's expectations.
Progress at our UK bus business remains encouraging and we anticipate that the
opening in the Autumn of the new Bull Ring shopping development in Birmingham
city centre will bring additional bus patronage as our services are fully
The UK trains division experienced an encouraging six months with patronage
growth of 5%. We remain focused on working in partnership with Network Rail to
improve the performance issues affecting a number of our services.
We are playing an active part in the current UK rail refranchising process. The
two-year extension at Central Trains has now been approved by the Secretary of
State for Transport. We are also starting negotiations with the SRA regarding
two-year extensions at Silverlink and Great Northern. We await the outcome of
our bid for the Wales and Borders franchise and will be submitting our bids for
the Greater Anglia and ScotRail franchises in late summer.
In May the Government introduced a concessionary half price fare scheme on coach
travel for disabled customers and those aged over 60. This has been well
received, resulting in the participation of a quarter of a million eligible
applicants. As we enter the peak season for coach travel, we will be promoting
a new range of 'best value fares' offering single fares from £1 on lower demand
off peak services. These are being piloted on a number of routes including
Bournemouth, Birmingham and Leeds to London prior to national roll-out.
We are pleased with the performance of our North American student transportation
business and continue to focus on addressing the cost pressures within our
public transit division.
The Deed of Company Arrangement for our Australian train and tram franchises has
recently been approved, completing our orderly handover of these businesses.
Progress in our Australian bus operations was satisfactory and in line with our
At Eurostar, talks continue between the three operators (Eurostar UK, SNCF and
SNCB) to rationalise the operations and thereby improve the disappointing
performance of this business. As part of these negotiations we are seeking in
due course to relinquish our involvement in the Eurostar operation.
We remain focused on delivering shareholder value utilising our strong cashflow
to provide the flexibility for a progressive dividend policy, sustained
investment in our core operations and share buy backs when appropriate.
The Group is expecting to announce its results for the first half of the year on
11 September 2003.
- ENDS -
For further information, please contact:
Adam Walker, Finance Director
Nicola Marsden, Director of Group Communications
Fiona Noblet, Group Communications Manager
National Express Group PLC 020 7529 2000
Ben Foster/ Steve Jacobs/ Dido Laurimore
Financial Dynamics 020 7831 3113
This information is provided by RNS
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