Information  X 
Enter a valid email address

National Express (NEX)

  Print      Mail a friend

Tuesday 18 December, 2007

National Express

Trading Statement

National Express Group PLC
18 December 2007


                           National Express Group PLC

                            Pre Close Trading Update

National Express Group PLC ('the Group') today reports on trading for the year
ending 31 December 2007 prior to entering its close period. We have traded
strongly throughout the second half of the year across all three geographies and
expect to announce a full year result at the top end of market expectations.

Our Spanish bus and coach operations traded well in the second half of the year
and we expect to see full year passenger growth of 4% as well as maintaining our
market leading margins. Our last three months trading has included a good start
at Continental Auto, which has strengthened our presence in the commuter, urban
and regional markets. Importantly, like for like revenue growth in Alsa remains
in line with expectations. We are pursuing a number of new commercial
opportunities across Spain and, two years after our entry into this key
strategic market, remain encouraged by the growth potential for 2008 and beyond.

In the UK we delivered exceptional operational performance and implemented
strategic fares initiatives which have resulted in like for like revenue growth
of 11% on trains, 6% on buses and 6% on scheduled coaches. To ensure our UK
operations can deliver on our promise of Making Travel Simpler, we have
commenced the integration of our UK businesses into one division. This process
is well underway and the new UK division launches in the New Year.

The last three months have been exceptionally busy with the launch of National
Express East Coast ('NXEC'), the UK's premier railway service, the acquisition
of The Kings Ferry Group, further progress in the West Midlands in developing
partnership opportunities with Centro and the start of a new business, dot2dot,
where corporate and consumer interest over its first few months has been
encouraging.

Public transport has a positive role to play in reducing personal carbon
footprints. Consequently, we are continuing to invest in greater customer
relationship management and marketing to stimulate repeat business across our UK
operations. Since September, we have run pilot schemes focused on our rail
operations and based on a database of 150,000 customers have generated
incremental profit of £1m, a two to one return even after taking into account
initial set-up costs. In 2008, we will incorporate our NXEC and Coach customers
which will increase the database to over 2.3 million customers.

In North America, the beginning of the school year went well and we started
running 14 new contracts. We are now operating in 27 states and 2 provinces
across the US and Canada, and following the sale of Stewart Airport in October
for $78.5 million, we are totally focused on school bus operations. We have
completed the initial evaluation work on our Business Transformation project. We
will run pilot studies early in 2008 and believe that the projected benefits can
be delivered earlier than originally anticipated. We remain on course to offer
school boards the most efficient and best value operator.

We end the year positively with strong ongoing cash flow generation and
therefore remain confident for the Group's future prospects during 2008.

                                    - ENDS -


For further information, please contact:

National Express Group                                  +44 20 7529 2000
Richard Bowker, Chief Executive
Adam Walker, Finance Director
Nicola Marsden, Director of Group Communications

Maitland                                                +44 20 7379 5151
Neil Bennett/ Suzanne Bartch/ Brian Hudspith





                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
     TSTFFLFUWSWSEDE