National Express profits slow down, expensive fuel prices blamed
British transport group National Express said pretax profit fell 12pc in the first half of 2013, dampened by the closure of its East Anglia rail service and rising fuel prices.
The bus and train operator on Wednesday posted pretax profit of £71.8m (€83.3m), down from £82m in the same period last year.
It won contracts worth £1.7bn in Britain, Germany, Morocco, and the United States over the period, the firm said.
Net debt fell by 2pc over the period, and was on track to meet a target of two times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation by the end of 2014.
The firm's interim dividend rose 3pc to 3.25 pence per share, as non-rail revenue grew 10pc and operating profit rose 2.7pc.
"We have had to address some significant headwinds in our existing markets while continuing to build a strong pipeline of new business opportunities," said Dean Finch, National Express Group Chief Executive.
National Express plans to bid for the full Essex Thameside rail contract later this year and has been shortlisted for the Crossrail bid process expected to start later this year, with the winner to be announced at the end of 2014.
The company announced this month that it had started the mobilisation of the two German rail contracts secured earlier this year and due to start in December 2015.