Travel

UK’s National Express posts jump in half-year profit as summer travel revives

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National Express buses are seen at Victoria railway station as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain April 2, 2020. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

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July 28 (Reuters) – British transport company National Express Group (NEX.L) on Thursday reported a rise in half-year profit on the rebound in summer travel demand after a slump during last year’s coronavirus-induced lockdowns.

London-listed shares of the school and coach operator are up 8.5% to 194.2 pence in early trade.

From people who have been wary of using public transit over the past two years, to fears of contracting COVID-19, to rising fuel prices prompting travelers to take buses and trains, National Express expects one improvement in demand.

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“The two most pressing issues that we currently have in society are the cost of living and also the climate crisis,” Ignacio Garat, group chief executive, told Reuters.

“We are (a) part of the solution for both.”

The company anticipates near-term pressures from staff shortages in North America, compounded by the region’s highest rates of wage inflation.

The company sees some margin pressure until all contracts are renewed and vacant driver positions filled in the run-up to schools reopening next month.

National Express’ earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the six months ended June 30 rose 54.3% to £197.8 million (US$240.92 million), on sales of 1, £3 billion, up 34%.

Earlier this year, National Express’ attempt to buy Stagecoach, Britain’s largest bus operator, suffered a setback after a European fund trumped its £445million bid with a higher bid. Continue reading

($1 = 0.8210 pounds)

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Reporting by Muhammed Husain and Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Neha Arora

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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