Overseas expansion drives National Express growth

Overseas expansion drives National Express growth

Revenue has surged past the £2bn mark at transport group National Express, driven by growth in a number of international markets.

The Birmingham-headquartered company hailed a "strong" performance in North America in the year to 31 Dec 2016 and also reported record passenger numbers in Spain and Morocco.

The group said trading in the UK coach market had been "good" while its UK bus division remained "resilient" in the face of challenging market conditions. It was also National Express' first full year of operating its German rail division, which carried more than 20 million passengers.

Revenue climbed to £2.1bn in 2016 from £1.75bn a year earlier. Pre-tax profit also increased to £136.3m from £122.7m.

Dean Finch, group chief executive at National Express, said: "We have again delivered a strong set of results from our diversified group of international businesses and remain confident for our future prospects.

"Our focus on operational excellence is helping drive organic growth across the group, and this is being complemented by significant returns from our recent acquisitions. We carried a record 921 million passengers in 2016 and will continue to invest in new technology to deliver ever-improving services to our customers."

As a result of its performance, the company's board has proposed a 10% increase in its final dividend (8.41p).

Finch added that the move 'demonstrates confidence in the future'.