Station naming deals announced
Runaway Rail Car Kicked Loose by Teen Hits New York Station
Škoda unveils its second tram for the Chinese market
Wabtec to buy Faiveley Transport for US$1·8bn
Constantine tram extension contract
Channel Tunnel: '2,000 migrants' tried to enter
Ottawa urban rail gets federal funding
UK and Italian operators order Vossloh locomotives
First Great Western and Eversholt sign Hitachi AT300 train contract
Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi invite interest in DIKKM railway
British bus and rail operator National Express Group said overnight it is buying Spanish transport company Alsa in a deal worth STG262 million ($631.71 million), allowing it to expand into continental Europe for the first time.
Privately owned Alsa is the largest coach and bus operator in Spain, controlling a fleet of about 1,400 vehicles. National Express currently carries around one billion passengers a year on its operations in Britain and the United States.
"We've been waiting for this deal for six years and this gives us critical mass in Spain," said National Express chief executive Phil White.
"There are opportunities for growth."
The agreement means that National Express, which runs the airport rail shuttles to Gatwick and Stansted in London, is following its British rival Arriva into Europe.
White said he hoped the move would lift National Express' profile and ensured that it was a major player in any privatisation of Spanish rail operations.
"I think in four or five years time, the Spanish government will decide to privatise the operations of rail services, and that's something that we would also look at closely, given our experience in the UK," he said.
Shares in London-based National Express rose 1.1 per cent to STG844 pence. Analysts at Investec said the acquisition did not look cheap at first glance, but should enhance earnings by between 5 per cent and 6 per cent in the first full year.
National Express said it will give 13.5 million new shares to the owners of Alsa, the Cosmen family, and pay STG149 million in cash and assume STG199 million of debt.
The deal includes all Alsa's interests in Spain, Portugal and Morocco as well as international long-distance coach operations across western Europe. However, it does not include the coach and bus operations in China and South America, which will remain under the control of the Cosmen family.
Alsa's president Jorge Cosmen will join the National Express Group Board as a non-executive director.
National Express also said on Tuesday that the London bomb attacks in July hurt its rail operations, particularly the franchises that carry passengers into London, although it had seen a return to passenger growth over the last six weeks.
Investec cut its pretax profit forecast for the company to STG127 million for 2005, from STG129.8 million, to reflect the likely impact of 'terrorist' action in London.
Australian Financial Review
About this website
Railpage version 3.10.0.0037
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is © 2003-2021 Interactive Omnimedia Pty Ltd.
You can syndicate our news using one of the RSS feeds.