Nat Express says profits on schedule

Kasmira Jefford
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NATIONAL Express said it was “firmly on target” to deliver profit growth this year across all of its bus, rail and coach divisions as cash-strapped consumers opt for public transport in straitened times.

The transport group, which is due to report full 2011 results on 1 March, said it was in line to meet revenue and profit expectations and has predicted “significant earnings growth” at its non-rail businesses next year.

Analysts expect National Express to report a 13 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £182m in 2011 compared with £160.5m last year.

Revenue at its core division UK Coach is expected to grow by over five per cent with airport, long-haul and London commuter services performing particularly well, the company said.

National Express’ UK bus service has seen profit margins return to above average industry levels as passenger numbers in the West Midlands return to growth, while its train division has seen growth of six per cent.

“National Express is finishing 2011 in excellent shape...We continue to invest in new fleet and offer exceptional value to our customers, enhancing the quality of our services at prices our passengers can afford,” chief executive Dean Finch said.

•UK bus operators face little or no competition, leading to passengers facing poorer services and in some cases higher fares, the Competition Commission warned in a new report.