National Express, Barratt Homes and WHSmith

THE WEEK: Morningstar columnist Rodney Hobson gets on board with bus operator National Express' recent revenue update

Rodney Hobson 12 May, 2017 | 11:55AM
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Bus operators never seem to be firing on all cylinders but as a shareholder I was reasonably pleased with the latest update from National Express (NEX). Group revenue rose by 5.4% in the first four months of 2017 even before allowing for the benefits of forex changes that boosted the gain to 15.4%, a fair enough performance though one that included some black spots.

For example, while revenue from long distance coach transport in the UK rose by 2.7%, bus services saw a 0.5% decline as passenger numbers fell 0.7%. I do take heart from the amazing discovery – well, it seems to have taken National Express by surprise – that reducing fares on some West Midlands route has brought an increase in passenger numbers and in revenue and that this jolly little wheeze will now be tried on other routes.

North America, where life has often been fraught with difficulties for UK bus operators, has had a strong start to the year with revenue up 5.8% in constant currency, albeit in part thanks to recent acquisitions.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
Barratt Developments PLC687.40 GBP0.00
Menzies (John) PLC255.00 GBP0.00
National Express Group PLC214.00 GBP0.00
WH Smith PLC1,311.00 GBP0.00

About Author

Rodney Hobson

Rodney Hobson  is a columnist for and author of several investing books, including The Dividend Investor and How to Build a Share Portfolio.