National Express Group PLC: Full Year Results for the year ended 31 December 2020

18 March 2021 7:00 AM

Resilience in adversity; prepared for recovery and growth


Following a strong start to the year, 2020 was dominated by the impact of Covid-19 across all of our businesses as governments across the world curbed travel to restrict the spread of the virus. Our priorities were the safety and wellbeing of our customers and employees as well as protecting the financial position of the Group. Across the business we have reduced costs, exited certain contracts and accessed government support schemes, to ensure that when we emerge from the pandemic the Group will be leaner, fitter and financially stronger. Our confidence for the future has been reinforced by the improvement in EBITDA and cash generation we delivered in the fourth quarter, the strongest quarterly performance for the year. After taking action to strengthen the balance sheet, we have ample liquidity and headroom to lending covenants and the ability to continue to invest in the growth of the business. With lockdowns and restrictions still in place in many territories, the outlook for the current year and the timing of the recovery remain difficult to predict, but it is encouraging that we continue to win new and retain existing contracts. Furthermore, when travel restrictions have been lifted, we have seen a rapid recovery in demand.

Financial summary


2020 2019 Change

Group Revenue








Group Underlying1 Operating (Loss)/Profit




Group Underlying1 PBT




Underlying basic1 EPS





Group Operating (loss)/profit




Group PBT




Group PAT




Basic EPS





Free cash flow




Net debt2




Financial and Operating highlights

  • Very strong performance pre pandemic, with revenue up 17% in the first two months
  • Proactive engagement with customers and authorities to limit revenue reduction and wide-ranging cost reductions to limit avoidable losses
  • Group EBITDA for the year of £186.6 million towards the top end of the guidance we gave in November
  • After separately disclosed items, a statutory loss of £326.7 million
  • Trajectory building with the fourth quarter being the strongest this year for EBITDA and with positive free cash flow generated in the second half
  • Material structural cost savings in every division
  • £1.9bn in cash and undrawn committed facilities
  • Net debt reduced by £400 million in second half to £941.6 million
  • £900 million of new contracts won across all Divisions including a first entry into Portugal
  • Further progress on decarbonisation targets with the introduction of EV and hydrogen buses

Ignacio Garat, National Express Group Chief Executive said:

“I am immensely proud of the performance of the National Express team in tackling the challenges faced in the past year and I have been impressed by the professionalism and dedication of my colleagues across the Group, who have done an outstanding job in delivering safe and reliable services for our customers during the most testing of times.

I am also grateful for the support we have received from both customers and authorities, which demonstrates not only the essential nature of our services but also the strength of the relationships that we have built and the extent to which we are perceived as a trusted partner. This partnership approach, and the non-discretionary nature of the majority of our services positions us well for a strong recovery as travel restrictions are lifted in the months ahead. This is boosted by the sustainable cost savings made, and new contracts won during the period.

As a business we have an important role to play in modern society and I want us to continue to be at the forefront of the debate on climate change and the role we can play in social mobility. We have a strong and diverse international transport platform that has demonstrated its resilience in recent months. We have a clear set of priorities to ensure we will return to growth in a prudent and safe manner. We will be competing to win”


National Express Group PLC

Chris Davies, Group Chief Financial Officer 0121 460 8655
Louise Richardson, Head of Investor Relations 07827 807766


Neil Bennett  020 7379 5151
James McFarlane 07584 142665

Download full announcement

There will be a webcast presentation for investors and analysts at 9.00am on 18 March 2021. Details are available from Audrey Da Costa at Maitland.



  1. To supplement IFRS reporting, we also present our results on an Underlying basis to show the performance of the business before intangible amortisation for acquired businesses. Given the unprecedented nature of the Covid-19 pandemic in this period, we have also excluded certain costs arising as a direct consequence of the pandemic from Underlying results (detail is provided on 16). In addition to performance measures directly observable in the Group financial statements (IFRS measures), alternative financial measures are presented that are used internally by management as key measures to assess performance. Further explanation in relation to these measures can be found on pages 23-24.
  2. 2019 net debt is re-presented for the transfer of £17.5 million out of net debt in respect of vehicle leases entered into in 2019 to fulfil contracts that have been deemed to be in scope of IFRIC 12. The effect of this re-presentation is to reduce 2019 closing net debt by £17.5 million compared with the previously reported figures.



Legal Entity Identifier: 213800A8IQEMY8PA5X34

Classification: 1.1 (with reference to DTR6 Annex 1R)

Further reading