National Express accelerated revenues in the first three months of its new financial year as it prepares to take a 60 per cent stake in Silicon Valley’s shuttle service in an $84.3m (£64.5m) deal.
The coach company saw group revenues rise 8.3 per cent year on year between January and April, with the US growing by the same amount even before National Express takes control of We Drive U, taking Facebook and other tech giants’ staff to work.
In the UK, its coach business boasted growth of seven per cent, but was dragged down by bus revenue growth of just 1.8 per cent.
National Express’ Spanish subsidiary, Alsa, outgrew all other divisions however, nearing a 12 per cent rate of expansion, or 7.8 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
Group profits experienced “good growth” over the key Easter period, the firm said, despite a snow shutdown in US schools that cost $4.5m.
Dean Finch, group chief executive, said: “I am pleased all of our divisions have started 2019 in a positive manner and we have seen strong trading over the important Easter period.
“Organic revenue growth has been secured across all of our increasingly diversified international portfolio. As our acquisition of a majority stake in We Drive U demonstrates, this diversified international portfolio also continues to present new opportunities for further expansion, which we pursue when they meet our strict financial criteria.”
National Express remains on track to hit full-year profit and cash flow targets, Finch added.
The company said its US business chief executive, Matthew Ashley, will become group business development director at the end of August.