- National Express said it was "on track" to meet its full-year profit and cash flow expectations after strong Easter trading and a positive start to 2019, which saw it deliver growth in every division.

Group revenue increased by 8.3% on a constant currency basis, and by 11.3% on a reported basis.

It said its Spanish coach operator business ALSA had had a particularly strong start to the year, with revenue increasing by 11.8% in constant currency. On a like-for-like basis, revenue grew 7.8%.

North America, meanwhile, increased revenue by 8.3% in constant currency, despite the impact of school closures after "particularly severe" snow. The incremental year-on-year profit impact from the associated school closures was currently around $4.5 million, although the firm expected "a sizeable proportion" of the lost schools days to be made up within their first half of the year.

On a like-for-like basis, revenue grew 3.2%.

Its UK operations saw revenue up 4.4%, with UK coach business revenue growing by 7% in the period. The firm's core coach business delivered revenue growth of 5.3% in the period. This included a "particularly strong" Easter, with revenue up 7.1% and passenger growth of 3.1%, year-on-year.

And its UK bus business saw total bus revenue increase 1.8%, driven by an increase in commercial patronage of 1.6% and growth in tendered contracts.

The firm's German rail services posted underlying revenue growth of 5.2%. The mobilisation for the firm's next contract - the first of three on the Rhine-Ruhr Express routes - was firmly on-track ahead of its start in June 2019.

"We continue to have a strong pipeline of further acquisition and bidding opportunities across all divisions." the firm said.

At 8:47am: [LON:NEX] National Express Group PLC share price was -2.4p at 410.6p

Story provided by