Thursday, 30 July 2009

National Express Announce Half Yearly Results

On the first day of strikes by NXEA staff, National Express announce pre tax losses of £48.1m for the first 6 months of 2009. £20m was lost on the troubled East Coast franchise.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Strike Action - Union Requirements

Reports in the media are detailing some of the claims being made by the unions as cause for the proposed strike action this week.

Among a variety of demands the ASLEF union for example want a minimum pay increase of 2.5%, a four day working week for all its members and a 4% increase in the number of train drivers employed by NXEA. During two days of talks the unions have also apparently refused to discuss any productivity improvements to fund the pay increase.

Poll Results Over Strike

In an online poll taken by the Manningtree Rail Users Association 56% of respondents did not agree with the strike action being threatened by NXEA staff. The remaining 44% did agree.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

NXEA Strike Update

NXEA are advising that it is almost certain that the strike by Aslef and RMT members will go ahead this Thursday and Friday and that almost no services will run.

There may be a skeleton service of three trains up and three back between Norwich and London and an hourly service between Colchester and London. Details will appear on the NXEA website.

The advice is however, to stay at home if at all possible.

NX Takeover - 'Put Up Or Shut Up'

National Express (NX) is understood to have asked the Takeover Panel to impose a 'Put Up or Shut Up' deadline on the takeover approach from CVC, the private equity group and the Cosmen family from Spain. (see comment dated 24th July)

The order would force the prospective bidders into making a firm offer within four weeks or walking away. NX is anxious to end uncertainty and also wants to press on with a rights issue if it is not taken over.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Stagecoach Joins NX Takeover Race

There is speculation that Stagecoach is joining the the list of potential suitors for National Express. According to press reports Stagecoach has appointed Deutsche Bank to draw up plans for an all-share takeover offer. Stagecoach currently runs the South West Trains franchise and has an interest in the Virgin West Coast route. Any takeover would make it a considerable force in the UK railway industry and as such, subject to monopoly investigation.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

NXEA Strike Action

Despite ongoing talks between NXEA and the ASLEF and RMT unions, strike action is still planned for 30th July, 6th, 13th and 20th August respectively. Each strike is planned to last 48 hours.

It is understood that NXEA have offered a salary increase above the rate of inflation.

In the event of strike action being called it is unlikely that any trains will run on these days.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Spanish Join National Express Bid

Following the announcement that an unnamed suitor has made a takeover approach for National Express, a major shareholder has joined with a private equity firm to formulate a possible takeover bid.

The Cosmen family from Spain, which owns 18.5% stake in National Express has teamed up with CVC Partners. CVC confirmed the consortium has made an initial proposal "to acquire for cash" all shares in National Express.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

New Suitor for National Express

National Express (NX) has received a fresh takeover approach from an unnamed suitor. The news comes the day after rival FirstGroup said that it had scrapped plans to make a takeover bid for NX. FirstGroup had said that it would now be inappropriate to consider a formal takeover of NX, because of uncertainties surrounding the business. This follows the latter's decision to cease funding it's East Coast franchise and the possible implications of this move on it's East Anglian and C2C franchises.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

European Funding for Midlands Link

A project to upgrade the line between Felixstowe and Nuneaton has received £8m of European Funding. This upgrade will enable more freight trains from Harwich and Felixstowe to go straight through to the Midlands rather than go via London, thereby freeing up valuable space on the Great Eastern mainline.

Friday, 17 July 2009

NXEA Staff To Strike

NXEA staff are to stage four 48 hour strikes in a dispute over pay and conditions.

The RMT and Aslef unions said their members will walk out on 30th July, 6th August, 13th August and 20th August.