National Express Group PLC: Full Year Results for the year ended 31 December 2021

10 March 2022 7:00 AM

Evolve strategy and demand recovery delivering significantly improved results

Financial summary


2021 2020 Change

Group Revenue








Group Underlying1 Operating Profit/(Loss)




Group Underlying1 PBT




Underlying basic1 EPS





Group Operating Loss




Group PBT




Group PAT




Basic EPS





Free cash flow2




Covenant Net Debt




Strategic, financial and operating highlights

Renewed Strategic Focus

  • Launched Evolve, targeting an incremental £1billion of revenue and at least £100 million of EBIT from 2022 to 2027
  • Purpose-driven with significant benefits for the environment and the business from modal shift to shared mobility.

Improving Financial Results

  • Constant currency revenue growth of 15.5% benefitting from the lifting of mobility restrictions, with passenger journeys up 37% year on year
  • EBITDA increased by 60.8% to £300.0 million
  • Full year Group Underlying PBT of £39.7 million, up £146 million year on year
  • Significant rebound in Underlying Operating Margins in North America (9%), ALSA (8%) and German Rail (3%)
  • Underlying operating costs up just 3.8% despite strong revenue growth and inflation, reflecting the benefits of the cost reduction programmes announced last year, removing around £100 million of annualised costs
  • Statutory loss before tax of £84.9 million; an improvement of £360 million year on year
  • Fuel fully hedged at rates lower than 2021 and major input costs subject to long term price agreements, e.g. during the year we fixed UK energy prices for three years
  • Generated £123.4 million of free cash flow in the year, an improvement of £319 million over the prior year
  • Significant improvement in Gearing to 3.6x from 6.6x

Environmental Leadership

  • Ambitious Group-wide zero emission fleet plans agreed, with a Group scope 1 & 2 net zero target of 2040
  • Maximising return on investment, signing our first ‘availability contract’ with Zenobe, for around 200 electric buses in the UK, reducing capital expenditure and defraying technology risk

Positioned for Growth

  • Current pipeline of growth opportunities amounting to £1.5 billion of revenue across our territories, prinicipally organic
  • Intention to reinstate a dividend in respect of the full year 2022 results, at least 2 times covered, if the positive outlook ahead for profit, cash flow and deleveraging holds

Update on Stagecoach combination

  • National Express notes the announcement of a counter-offer for Stagecoach. The Board of National Express is considering its options and will update the market in due course.


Ignacio Garat, National Express Group Chief Executive said:

“Mobility restrictions are lifting across our markets and people are travelling again. But we cannot return to ‘travel as usual’ if we are going to meet the pressing needs of COP 26. In 2021 we launched our Evolve Strategy with a clear vision and purpose, to be the world’s premier shared mobility operator, leading modal shift from cars to public transport. Modal shift is a necessity for the planet (pre-pandemic, cars generated 70% of surface transport emissions in the EU) and good for our business (a 1% modal shift from cars to buses would increase bus passenger journeys by 23%). We have translated Evolve into detailed action plans in each of our businesses and we are already seeing the benefits.

I am proud of the fact that we have set ambitious environmental targets for each of our businesses and the Group overall, underpinned by solid action plans. National Express has a major role to play not only in tackling the challenge of climate change, but in driving improvements in social mobility by providing safe, reliable, affordable and accessible mobility solutions across the globe.

I am immensely proud of how the Group has responded to the continuing challenges of the pandemic and the improving performance that has resulted. I particulary want to thank our 44,500 employees who have played a critical role in helping to drive our business forward, as we continued to navigate our way through another stop-start year. I am also grateful for the ongoing support from governments and customers, which is testament to the strength of the relationships that we have built over many years. It was very encouraging to see that as restrictions lifted, we saw a rapid recovery in demand for our services and I am delighted to report a return to positive Underlying Operating Profit and free cash flow.

I anticipate further strong recovery in demand over the coming year, and I am excited about what lies ahead, with Evolve providing greater clarity of both the significant growth opportunities and the path towards it. Based on current projections, it is our intention to reinstate consistent dividend payments starting with a dividend for full year 2022.”


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 10 March 2022. Details are available from Audrey Da Costa at Maitland.


The full release and supplementary data will be available on our website from 7:00am (London time) on 10 March 2022. The web address is



1. To supplement IFRS reporting, we also present our results on an Underlying basis to show the performance of the business before separately disclosed items. These are detailed on page 14 and principally comprise intangible amortisation for acquired businesses, directly attributable gains and losses arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, restructuring costs and the re-measurement of the RRX onerous contract provision. In addition to alternative performance measures in respect of the income statement, free cash flow, Gearing and Covenant Net Debt are also alternative performance measures. Further explanation in relation to all alternative performance measures can be found on pages 20-21.

2. 2020 free cash flow is restated for the reclassification from payables to Net Debt of amounts due under advance subsidy factoring arrangements. For further details see page 32.



Legal Entity Identifier: 213800A8IQEMY8PA5X34

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

Further reading