National Express revenue up by 8.9% in first quarter
National Express Group says revenue across its businesses in the UK, Europe, North Africa and North America was up by 8.9% in the first quarter of 2020, despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Before lockdowns greatly reduced the number of services it could operate, it says revenue was up strongly across all of its businesses. Thanks to the start of its National Express Accessible Transport business in the West Midlands, revenue across the UK bus business was up by 7.6% year on year, while UK coach revenue fell by 11.6%. Revenue in North America was up by 11.3% and its ALSA business in Spain and North Africa experienced 4.9% overall growth.
The group has put all capital expenditure on hold and is not paying a final dividend to shareholders. Around half of the UK workforce has been moved on to the government’s furloughing scheme.
Its scheduled coach services, which had already been reduced to a Christmas Day schedule, were suspended from 6 April until further notice. It is operating 46% of its West Midlands bus services to sustain an emergency key worker network.
The group has also disclosed that two staff members have died after contracting the coronavirus. “They were much respected colleagues and will be sorely missed,” says chief executive Dean Finch. “We are providing their families with support during this very difficult time. Equally, we pass on our best wishes to other colleagues suffering from the virus and hope for their safe recovery. Our priority remains protecting the safety of our colleagues and customers. I am particularly proud of the excellent work my National Express colleagues are doing during this exceptionally difficult period.
“We continue to make important progress in dealing with the impact of the pandemic across our businesses. We are combining self help with productive discussions with customers, national governments and relationship banks. We are also determined to play our part by continuing to provide essential services where they are still needed. This pandemic has reinforced the absolutely fundamental and essential role our services play in the communities we serve. With their exceptional actions, governments and authorities have clearly recognised this as well.
“National Express went in to this crisis with revenue up strongly across the Group. I remain confident that we will emerge out of this unprecedented period with our portfolio of strong assets ready to return to delivering industry-leading service to our customers.”
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