Transport giant on road to dividend return

Transport giant National Express expects to reinstate a dividend at the end of this year after a strong rebound in its performance.

The FTSE 250 group’s revenues increased by one-third to £1.3bn, its best first-half figures since it exited UK rail five years ago.

It recorded a £20.5m pre-tax profit for the six months to June, a £70m improvement on a year ago.

National Express group chief executive Ignacio Garat said: “I am pleased to see momentum building across the group, with strong growth in revenue, profit and cash in the first half.

“Our Evolve strategy is delivering results and we are increasingly demonstrating our ability to rapidly mobilise safe, high quality operations on which our customers can rely.”

National Express won 16 new contracts worth £150m and promised there is “more to come” from a £2bn pipeline.

The Birmingham-headquartered group also sees demand for travel rebounding and believes the prospects for public transport are improving.

Garat sees opportunities in being seen as part of the solution to the short-term economic problems and long-term environmental challenges.

“What we do is ever more critical for today’s world, providing part of the solution to both the climate crisis and cost of living crisis, enabling people to swap their private car journeys for public transport,” he said.