Terror attacks hit demand for coach travel, says National Express
The threat of terrorism has hit coach travel at National Express, the company admitted today.
After making a good start to the year the transport operator's UK Coach division has suffered after a string of terror attacks in the late spring and early summer dampened demand.
The division runs coach services out of Shropshire, with services heading from Telford and Shrewsbury into Birmingham and London, and to the Welsh coast at Aberystwyth.
"UK Coach enjoyed a strong start to the year, but has more recently been impacted by a reduction in transport demand after recent terrorist events," the company said in its results for the six months to June 30.
It added: "We expect the subdued demand to continue in the second half of the year, but have a number of management actions in place to improve the trend."
While sales for the UK Coach division grew by 1.7 per cent to £136.1 million, profits dropped 9.6 per cent to £9.4 million as the company attempted to protect its market share with discount deals in the face of the weak demand.
Despite what it called "challenging UK market conditions" profits were up as a whole at the Birmingham-based transport group, which also runs bus and rail services in the UK, Europe, Morocco and USA.
Pre-tax profits rose almost 19 per cent to £64.6 million, and even after stripping out the impact of selling its c2c rail franchise and pulling out of UK train services profits were still up 10 per cent at £50.8m. Revenue in the first six months was up 16 per cent to £1.17 billion.
Group chief executive Dean Finch said: "We have delivered a strong set of results, again benefiting from our internationally diverse portfolio of cash-generative businesses.
"Record half year performances in our North American and Spanish & Moroccan divisions have more than offset more challenging trading in the UK."
He added: "We continue to see the benefit of our recent acquisitions in driving good growth and creating shareholder value.
"These acquisitions are also helping us to expand in new growth markets, but we will remain disciplined in the opportunities we pursue."