Wanna go for a ride? National Express has a seat. Specializing in passenger transportation, the company serves riders in North America, Spain and the UK. As one of the UK's largest passenger transportation companies, National Express provides train services and operates buses and coaches. Train lines offer intercity, rural, and commuter services. The company's bus services operate in the West Midlands, Dundee, and London, and it provides intercity coach services within the UK and to Ireland. National Express also runs school bus services in North America as well as bus and coach services across Spain.
The company, hit hard by the global economic downturn in 2008-09, struggled to keep its revenues on an upward trajectory. With its revenues and profits trending downward between 2007 and 2010, the company restructured its operations, brought in new management, and implemented cost-cutting measures in key areas of the business. The biggest cost-cutting initiatives were targeted at its North American and UK Bus businesses. National Express' efforts, coupled with an improved economy in the UK and other markets, helped stabilize the company's revenues in 2010 and contributed to its return to profitability. In 2011 the company declared its turnaround complete and has laid out plans to continue on a path of improved profitabilty and strong revenue growth through organic growth and select acquisitions.
In 2012 it expanded its North American student bus service operations after acquiring Ohio-based Petermann Partners for $200 million in cash. The acquisition of the fifth-largest US student transportation provider is expected to grow the company's US vehicle fleet by 20% and expand services in 10 states in the western, midwestern, and southwestern US.
In addition to acquisitions, National Express is generating revenues and increasing its profit margins through organic growth means. The company is expanding its fleet of buses, including adding several fuel-efficient hybrid buses, and is investing in sales and marketing campaigns to increase ridership. It is also pursuing new franchise opportunities in its UK rail operations to replace the East Anglia franchise that was turned over to a new operator in 2012. – less