NEWS

2010-05-05

National Express

The new boss of transport group National Express has reported an encouraging start to the year with cost saving programmes and stronger operational focus driving improved margins.

The Birmingham-based group endured a torrid 2009, as huge debts and problems with the East Coast Main Line hit income.

However, new chief executive Dean Finch said, in a statement to the London Stock Exchange, the group is on track to meet expectations for margin and profit in the full year and continues to build its financial strength.

The company said that despite conditions remaining relatively difficult, the first quarter saw a stabilising in revenue trends and operating margins have improved across the business.

Its UK performance improved in the first quarter, benefitting from a return to profitability in rail and delivery of actions to increase margin.

Mr Finch said: “We have made an encouraging start to 2010 as we roll out our plans for operational improvement. We are already seeing signs of progress in North America, have clear plans for our UK Bus business and continue to build on our strengths in Spain and UK Coach.

“Whilst we have much to do, National Express has a strong portfolio of first class transport businesses and the ability to deliver to its full potential over the longer term.”

Mr Finch joined the group as chief executive on February 15. He has completed a review of the business, which has highlighted the “underperforming” UK bus division as an issue, and revealed a transformation programme of its US business was not working.