Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom National Express Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom National Express RSS feed en Thu, 18 Jul 2019 06:25:40 +0100 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> Mon, 01 Jul 2019 13:55:05 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> Thu, 20 Jun 2019 15:35:02 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - 2019 AGM Results ]]> Thu, 09 May 2019 17:07:22 +0100 <![CDATA[News - National Express enjoys growth across all divisions ]]> National Express Group PLC (LON:NEX) has grown sales across its bus and rail divisions, in the UK, US, Spain and Germany in the first quarter of 2019.

Group revenue was driven 8.3% higher on a constant currency basis in the first four months of the year and management said the group was “on target” to meet full-year targets for revenue, profit, cash flow and leverage.

The largest unit, North America, also increased revenue by 8.3% but this was boosted by swings in the US dollar, with like-for-like revenue up 3.2%. The division, which runs school buses and offers corporate transit services, was hit by school closures due to severe snow during the period, with a US$4.5mln incremental year-on-year profit impact, although a “sizeable proportion” of the lost schools days is expected to be made up within the rest of the first half of the year.

National Express acquired a majority stake in the Silicon Valley-focused WeDriveU employee shuttle business, which the company said “transforms our credentials in a very attractive nationwide market”, with a further small acquisition also made in the period of a transit operator in Arizona to break into the “growing non-emergency medical transportation services market”.

Highlight of the month was the ALSA Spanish business, where revenue revved up 11.8% in constant currency or 7.8% on an LFL basis. All segments in Spain, Morocco and Switzerland grew strongly, with revenue up 9.1% during the Easter period and passenger numbers increasing 5.5%.

The unit’s largest bus franchise, in Bilbao, was renewed for another 10 years, though Spain’s long-haul concession renewal process is still up in the air, with no material impact expected on earnings before 2021.

UK sales were mixed, with the coach business up 7% but bus up 1.8%, or up 4.4% overall. The coach business renewed the contract for shuttle services at Stansted Airport for another five years, while a trial has begun of its NEON on-demand coach service focusing on large events.

The UK bus business was driven by an increase in commercial patronage of 1.6%, up from 1.1% last year, plus growth in tendered contracts and with commercial revenue per mile growing 4%. Ahead of the start of Birmingham's Clean Air Zone on 1 January 2020, the bus fleet “will be fully-compliant” and the division is “well-advanced in developing options to support the policy's ambition to secure significant modal shift”.

The German rail services grew underlying revenues 5.2%, with the next contract of three on the Rhine-Ruhr Express routes “firmly on-track” ahead of its start in June.

Broker Liberum noted that price increases in the current contract bid season were averaging 5% and fully offsetting driver wage inflation, but net losses of 1000 buses "is perhaps a touch higher than ideal at this stage".

National Express shares were down almost 1% to 410p on Thursday morning. 

Thu, 09 May 2019 10:14:00 +0100
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Trading Update ]]> Thu, 09 May 2019 07:00:02 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Notice of AGM additional resolution ]]> Thu, 18 Apr 2019 07:00:02 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> Tue, 16 Apr 2019 17:24:21 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> Mon, 15 Apr 2019 18:27:34 +0100 <![CDATA[News - National Express buys controlling stake in US employee-shuttle firm WeDriveU for US$84mln ]]> National Express PLC (LON:NEX) is to buy a 60% stake in US employee-shuttle bus operator WeDriveU Holdings Inc. for US$84.4mln in cash.

The UK transport company will an option to buy the remaining shares, held by WeDriveU chief executive Dennis Carlson and the management team, in tranches over the next three years.  

READ: National Express hikes dividend after record year of profits

WeDriveU provides employee shuttle services to Fortune 500 companies based in Silicon Valley and the wide San Francisco Bay Area.

Following the acquisition, National Express plans to form a new shuttle division within its North American business to provide transport for employees, hospitals and universities.

The FTSE 250 firm expects the deal to be earnings accretive from completion.

Last year WeDriveU generated revenue of US$139.9mln, normalised earnings (EBITDA) of US$21.1mln, normalised operating profit of US$15.4mln and had gross assets of US$80mln.

"I am delighted WeDriveU are joining National Express as part of our strategic acquisition programme," said National Express chief executive Dean Finch.

"As the premier operator in Silicon Valley and the wider San Francisco Bay Area, WeDriveU provides the opportunity for expansion into a fast-growing market.”

In a note to clients, analysts at Liberum Capital said: “Overall, this appears to be an attractive acquisition consistent with the group’s strategy and areas of expertise. We increase our EPS estimates by 3% for 2020E and 4% for 2021E, raise our SOTP-based target price to 480p from 470p and reiterate our BUY recommendation.”

In afternoon trading, shares in National Express increased 1% to 415.60p.

 -- Adds price target, estimates change, updates share price --

Fri, 12 Apr 2019 07:29:00 +0100
<![CDATA[RNS press release - National Express acquires 60% stake in WeDriveU ]]> Fri, 12 Apr 2019 07:00:05 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> Mon, 01 Apr 2019 15:00:02 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Annual Report 2018 and Notice of 2019 AGM ]]> Fri, 29 Mar 2019 15:30:02 +0000 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Market purchase of shares ]]> Fri, 08 Mar 2019 15:00:01 +0000 <![CDATA[News - National Express hikes dividend after record year of profits ]]> Train and bus operator National Express Group PLC (LON:NEX) hiked its full-year dividend by 10% after delivering record profit on the back of higher revenue and international expansion.

Profit before tax at continuing operations rose by 10% to £220mln last year as revenue gained 5.6% to £2.5bn, boosted by 11 acquisitions including seven in North America, three in Spain and one in the UK.

READ: National Express pre-tax profit up 18% after strong summer in the UK

At constant exchange rates, pre-tax profit increased by 11.3% and revenue rose by 6.9%.

Underlying growth across all divisions 

North America revenue increased by 4.2% to £1.1bn, UK revenue edged up 2.7% to £577mln and the Spanish ALSA business saw revenue grow 12.2% to £745.1mln.

At constant currency, North America grew 8%, ASLA increased 11.2% and the UK edged up 2.8%.

However, revenue in the German rail business fell by 14.1%, or 15.1% at constant currency, to £67.8mln as 2017 had the benefit of catch-up revenue that was not recognised in 2016.

On an underlying basis, the German rail revenue rose by 5.4%.

The company proposed a full year dividend of 14.85p, compared to 13.51p a year ago.

For 2019, the group expects another year of organic revenue and profit growth.

“While the political context, certainly in the UK, may be uncertain, we are determined to remain a consistent source of growth in shareholder value,” said chief executive Dean Finch. 

Liberum holds rating at 'buy'

Liberum maintained a 'buy' rating and target price of 470p.

"Strong growth as expected with management’s strategy of a diversified international portfolio delivering growth in all regions, underpinned by a mix of organic growth and acquisitions," it said. 

"We expect more of the same going forward, as the group continues to deliver steadily compounding growth.

"While consensus estimates seem unlikely to move materially for now, we see the balance of risks being on the upside."

Shares fell 1.1% to 418.60p in morning trading. 


-- Adds broker comment and share price -- 


Thu, 28 Feb 2019 08:45:00 +0000
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Final Results ]]> Thu, 28 Feb 2019 07:00:13 +0000 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> Fri, 01 Feb 2019 15:00:01 +0000 <![CDATA[News - Liberum upgrades National Express to ‘Buy’, ups targets for FirstGroup and Go-Ahead as it sees buying opportunity in depressed sector ]]> City broker Liberum has upgraded National Express Group PLC (LON:NEX) to ‘Buy’ from ‘Hold’ and upped its target prices for FirstGroup PLC (LON:FGP) and Go-Ahead Group PLC (LON:GOG) as it saw buying opportunities amid a downturn in investor sentiment for UK public transport.

In a sector note, the broker said sentiment for bus and rail operators was “arguably at an all-time low” with struggling rail franchises, high political risk, and weak economic activity and congestion driving down bus volumes.

READ: National Express pre-tax profit up 18% after strong summer in the UK

However, analysts said the risks to the sector were “more than adequately priced in” and the depressed valuations created opportunities.

For National Express, Liberum said its diversified exposure to multiple geographies, transport modes and regulatory regimes meant the firm was “not reliant on any one source for current earnings or future growth”.

“The group’s exit from the UK rail industry was well-timed, doubly so with the benefit of hindsight. Although it continues to have a material presence in the UK, the majority of earnings and value are derived overseas.”

The broker also upped its target price for the firm to 470p from 410p, saying “management's consistent execution of a controlled risk strategy is delivering steady, compounding growth” but this was not fully reflected in the current rating.

For FirstGroup, which was retained at ‘Buy’ and upped to 130p from 110p, Liberum said there was “considerable” upside potential from a turnaround at the FTSE 250 firm, with poor share price performance reflecting “past disappointments”.

READ: London Waterloo travel chaos: South Western Railway hit by overrun engineering work

However, the potential upside had been the case for some time, analysts said, and while the group’s largest division, First Student, had recovered problems had persisted and spread elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Go-Ahead was lifted to 1,850p from 1,840p and maintained at ‘Hold’, mainly on the back of an “attractive and secure” dividend yield, which Liberum said was the highest among the public transport operators.

READ: Go-Ahead Group bags first Australian contract with Sydney rail deal

The broker said the 5.7% yield for the 2019 fiscal year was considered to be secure with “good cover” and underpinned by improving free cash flow now that capital expenditure on London buses had “passed its peak”.

Analysts added that two key risks to the firm, the GTR rail franchise being terminated early and a revision to Transport for London’s (TfL) bus budget, had “moderated recently”.

The only firm to stay unchanged was Stagecoach Group PLC (LON:SGC) at a ‘Buy’ rating and 180p target price, with analysts saying the firm had more “modest” upside potential than FirstGroup but it came with “significantly lower execution risk”.

READ: Stagecoach shares travel lower as RBC expects US coach disposal to hit earnings

Over the last year, Liberum said the firm had managed to shrink the number of challenges its management had to deal with, including an exit from the East Coast rail franchise and the sale of its North American business.

“Consequently, management and the group's capital can be more concentrated on the remaining problems in the UK Bus divisions. In turn, the tighter focus ought to improve the prospects of delivering improved performance.”

In mid-morning trading Monday, National Express shares were up 0.7% at 382.6p, FirstGroup was up 0.8% at 90.8p, Go-Ahead was up 1.4% at 1,810p, and Stagecoach was down 0.8% at 155.5p.

Mon, 28 Jan 2019 10:27:00 +0000
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Notification of Major Holdings ]]> Tue, 23 Oct 2018 15:00:04 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Notification of Major Holdings ]]> Tue, 23 Oct 2018 15:00:01 +0100 <![CDATA[News - National Express pre-tax profit up 18% after strong summer in the UK ]]> National Express Group PLC (LON: NEX) on Thursday said brisk business activity during the summer, particularly from its UK coach unit, has led to a rise in group revenue and profit during the third quarter.

The Birmingham-based public transport company said group pre-tax profit climbed 18.3% compared with the same period last year, and revenue rose by 9.5%. Group margin also rose year-on-year, the FTSE 250-listed company said.

READ: National Express becomes largest transport operator in Morocco after fifth contract win

It was “a strong summer” for activity in the UK, with the coach business “especially showing outstanding organic growth”, said National Express. The UK coach unit’s revenue rose 9.4% on a like-for-like-basis, and core revenue grew by 10.1%. Passenger numbers increased by 6%.

The core coach business brought in more than £5mln in revenue for every week in August for the first time ever, with Monday revenue for the August Bank Holiday rising 13 %.

National Express said the mid-September purchase of Stewarts, a high-quality coach business, expands its B2B operations among the blue-chip company in the fast-growing M4 corridor.

Dean Finch, group chief executive said: "We had a good summer's trading, with our UK coach business, in particular, delivering outstanding organic growth. Group revenue and profit are up strongly and we are carrying more passengers. We expect this momentum to continue in our traditionally quieter fourth quarter.”

Finch added: "With Spanish concession renewals further delayed, a major contract starting during 2019 in Rabat and encouraging pricing trends in North America, our outlook is positive. Our continued focus on cash flow and operational performance should allow us to continue to grow profit in the years ahead."

At the Spanish subsidiary ALSA, revenue rose 15% in constant currency terms and passenger numbers grew by 5.7%.

In North America, revenue rose by 6.9%.

Thu, 18 Oct 2018 08:26:00 +0100
<![CDATA[RNS press release - National Express Group PLC: Trading update ]]> Thu, 18 Oct 2018 07:00:07 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Market Purchase of Shares ]]> Wed, 10 Oct 2018 15:00:04 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Market Purchase of Shares ]]> Fri, 05 Oct 2018 17:14:23 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Publication of Prospectus ]]> Wed, 03 Oct 2018 15:01:17 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> Mon, 01 Oct 2018 15:00:02 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> Mon, 01 Oct 2018 14:27:22 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Notification of Major Holdings ]]> Wed, 19 Sep 2018 15:00:03 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> Tue, 14 Aug 2018 15:00:01 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> Fri, 10 Aug 2018 15:00:03 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> Wed, 08 Aug 2018 15:00:05 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Half Year Results ]]> Thu, 26 Jul 2018 07:00:18 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Change in Director's details notification ]]> Wed, 25 Jul 2018 15:30:01 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> Wed, 11 Jul 2018 15:30:04 +0100 <![CDATA[News - National Express becomes largest transport operator in Morocco after fifth contract win ]]> National Express Group PLC (LON:NEX) has become the largest transport operator in Morocco after securing a €1bn bus contract, its fifth in the country.

The FTSE 250-transport provider said its Spanish and Moroccan division ALSA had been awarded the contract, which covers the cities of Rabat, Salé, and Temara and would be the division’s largest in the kingdom, for an initial period of 15 years, with an option to extend for a further 7 years.

READ: National Express rebuffs snowy weather with revenue growth at start of 2018

The contract is expected to carry 109mln passengers per year across 61 routes and was expected to commence within a year and secure €1bn over its lifetime.

ALSA will operate the contract as a majority shareholder in partnership with CityBus, a local transport company.

With the addition of the new contract, ALSA’s Moroccan business will carry 265mln passengers each year with a fleet of 1,000 buses in the country.

In a note to clients, analysts at City broker Liberum commented: “Contract life revenue is estimated by management to be €1bn, although it is unclear if that covers the 15-year initial term only or includes the extension option. Also, the group has won the bid with a local JV partner, CityBus, and it is unclear what percentage National Express will own.

They added: “Nonetheless, this is a positive development, consistent with the group’s strategy of expanding its international exposure through contract wins, and we believe this is one of the larger opportunities the group has been pursuing.”

However, Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, poured some cold water on the announcement: “A €1bn contract to provide bus services in Morocco initially sounds like a major development for transport operator National Express. But look closer and it is clear that the business isn’t suddenly going to come into a big sum of money.

He added: “The €1bn contract runs over 15 years – or in other words €66.7mln a year. While still not an inconsiderable sum, you have to bear in mind this amount is revenue and not profit. As National Express and several of its peers have demonstrated in the past, there are no guarantees on how profitable transport contracts will be.”

In early morning trading Wednesday, National Express shares were steady around 397.2p.

-- Adds analyst comment and updates share price --

Wed, 04 Jul 2018 08:30:00 +0100
<![CDATA[RNS press release - National Express wins EUR 1bn Moroccan contract ]]> Wed, 04 Jul 2018 07:00:04 +0100 <![CDATA[News - National Express knocked down to 'Neutral' by UBS on valuation grounds ]]> National Express Group PLC (LON:NEX) has been downgraded to ‘Neutral’ from ‘Buy’ by analysts at UBS on valuation grounds following a period of outperformance which brought it close to the target price.

The Swiss investment bank said the FTSE 250 transport provider had outperformed its UK peers over the last 12 months, primarily due to its lack of exposure to the UK’s rail sector and a diversified business mix but given its current business model there was limited risk to earnings on both up-or-downsides, and thus was fairly valued.

READ: National Express rebuffs snowy weather with revenue growth at start of 2018

Analysts also highlighted that while growth opportunities did exist, with North American expansion and tender and acquisition opportunities in Europe and the Middle East among them, bidding for these would likely come at the expense of short-term profits as well as a potential increase in labour costs due to tightening regulations in a number of markets, especially the USA.

They added that the recent changes in the Spanish government could also delay the re-tendering process for its Alsa branch, the biggest operator in the country.

Despite the downgrade to its rating, UBS upped its target price for the group to 415p from 410p, saying: “Although we do not regard NEX as particularly expensive, it has the misfortune to be in a sub-sector where its peers are facing significant challenges”.

They added: “[T]here are some potential headwinds to the investment case (wage inflation, Spanish re-tendering, oil price) and for this reason we believe the current share price is a fair reflection of the situation with only a small change to sum-of-the-parts valuation and estimates”.

In late-morning trading Monday, National Express shares were down 3.8% at 386p.

Mon, 02 Jul 2018 11:34:00 +0100
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> Mon, 02 Jul 2018 10:57:30 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> Thu, 24 May 2018 15:30:01 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> Fri, 18 May 2018 15:30:02 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Results of Annual General Meeting ]]> Wed, 16 May 2018 16:58:24 +0100 <![CDATA[News - National Express rebuffs snowy weather with revenue growth at start of 2018 ]]> National Express Group PLC (LON:NEX) has shrugged off severe weather during the first three months of 2018 to report revenue growth across the group.

The FTSE 250-public transport company reported group revenue growth in constant currency had grown 6.2% in the period, with double-digit growth in its pre-tax profits year-on-year.

READ: Liberum downgrades National Express to ‘hold’ amid less favourable US dollar exchange rate

Across the group’s divisions, its North America operation grew 9% in constant currency, with ALSA, which includes its Spanish, Moroccan and Swiss operations, up 6.3% while the UK grew by 1.4%.

National Express also said its German rail services arm performed well in the period, lapping the catch-up revenue from the period last year so revenues declined 0.7% as expected.

The firm said the rail business remained on-track with the mobilisation of its next contract, which is due to start in June 2019.

The company also amended and extended its revolving credit facilities, securing around £500mln of liquidity to 2023.

Dean Finch, chief executive of National Express, said: "I am pleased all of our divisions have started 2018 in a positive manner. Our strong revenue performance has again been driven by both organic growth and the benefit of recent acquisitions. Our diversified international portfolio continues to deliver broad-based growth and open additional opportunities for further expansion.

He added: “These opportunities will continue to be sought in a disciplined manner and we will only pursue them if they meet our strict financial criteria. We remain on track to meet our full year profit and cash flow expectations."

READ: National Express shrugs off US cold spell as passenger numbers climb

In a note to clients, analysts at Liberum commented: “An encouraging update for the first four months of the year demonstrating that the momentum from last year has continued. Revenue growth has remained strong (+6.2% constant currency, +1.7% reported), although this includes the uplift from acquisitions.

They added: “We make minor changes to our forecasts, raising 2018E EPS by 1% and 2019E by 4%. We update our exchange rate assumptions (again) to reflect the reversal of recent US dollar weakness, which is positive for the translation of the group's North American operations. We still conservatively assume some margin pressure as long distance coach concessions are renewed (with a subsequent recovery), but better visibility on the timing of the tenders suggests the main impact would be in 2020E rather than in 2019E.”

Meanwhile, analysts at Investec placed the stock under review, saying: "The strength of current trading and recent acquisitions suggest that PBT will be slightly ahead of our forecasts, particularly given recent US$ strength."

They added: "Revenue growth is in line or ahead of our forecasts in every division apart from German Rail and although the negative impact of currency is slightly greater than we anticipated, current trends in PBT growth are ahead of our forecasts."

In lunchtime trading Wednesday, National Express shares were up 2.7% at 417.2p.

-- Adds broker comment and updates share price --

Wed, 16 May 2018 08:30:00 +0100
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Trading Statement ]]> Wed, 16 May 2018 07:00:03 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> Thu, 10 May 2018 15:30:02 +0100 <![CDATA[News - Liberum downgrades National Express to ‘hold’ amid less favourable US dollar exchange rate ]]> Liberum Capital has downgraded its rating for National Express Group PLC (LON:NEX) to ‘hold’ from ‘buy’ and cut its price target to 410p from 420p after cutting earnings forecasts to reflect sterling's rebound against the US dollar.

In a note to clients, analysts at Liberum said they reduced their estimates by 2% across the board to reflect a less favourable dollar exchange rate impacting the translation of US earnings.

READ:National Express shrugs off US cold spell as passenger numbers climb

The analysts noted that the FTSE 250-listed group derives the majority of its earnings from outside the UK, around 73% based on 2018 estimated operating profit.

They explained: “Although this remains favourable from a political risk point of view, the currency translation tailwind the group has enjoyed over the past two years is reversing as sterling rebounds, against the US dollar most notably.”

The analysts concluded: "National Express remains the best-in-class public transport operator, with all divisions trading well, limited exposure to UK political risk and no exposure to UK rail following its exit last year." 

But it added that: “Strong share price performance has left the valuation appearing up with events”

In late morning trading, National Express shares were 1% lower at 408.4p.

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 10:49:00 +0100
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Transaction in Own Shares ]]> Fri, 13 Apr 2018 15:30:01 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Notification of transactions by PDMRs ]]> Wed, 11 Apr 2018 15:30:01 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> Wed, 04 Apr 2018 15:30:01 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> Tue, 03 Apr 2018 15:43:07 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Notice of AGM ]]> Thu, 29 Mar 2018 15:30:01 +0100 <![CDATA[RNS press release - Notification of Transactions by PDMRs ]]> Wed, 21 Mar 2018 15:30:01 +0000