Midland transport group National Express has reported an improvement in revenue and margins in the third quarter of the year.
Edgbaston-based National Express (NEX) said it remained on track to meet its full-year profit forecast after an upturn in fortunes, which comes despite of challenging economic conditions.
In an interim statement, chief executive Dean Finch said: “Whilst the economic outlook remains challenging, National Express is well placed to drive margin improvement through its growth, yield management and cost control initiatives.”
The bus, coach and train company said the economic climate in Spain had remained subdued, but revenue was broadly unchanged during the third quarter after a steep decline for the same period in 2009.
“There has been limited direct impact from [Spanish] government austerity measures,” it said.
At its British bus business third-quarter normalised operating profit was up by £5 million, with passenger per mile revenue five per cent higher.
Underlying revenue for the British coach division increased by four per cent in the year-to-date.
National Express said profitability at its British rail business continued to grow on the back of a seven percent rise in third-quarter underlying revenue.
It said its North American business had returned to revenue growth in the quarter as it added new routes and net new revenue growth rose five per cent.
Net debt rose in the third quarter “in line with seasonal norms”, but National Express said its focus on cash generation continued and it expected debt gearing ratios to remain robust at the end of the year. It said it did not plan to refinance before 2014 following a refinancing programme in July.