National Express hints at further rail job cuts
The group also disclosed that 4,000 employees of the bus company West Midlands Travel, which it acquired in 1995, will share in a pounds 31m shares bonanza worth an average of pounds 7,800 each through a loyalty bonus to be paid in May.
National Express is now Britain's biggest rail operator after winning five of the 25 passenger franchises. It will receive a total of pounds 2.8bn in subsidies over the next seven to 15 years.
Midland Mainline, the InterCity service from London's St Pancras, made a pounds 1.6m operating profit in the last eight months of 1996 after receiving pounds 11m of taxpayers' support. The underlying operating loss, excluding pounds 1.8m of exceptional charges to cover redundancies, was pounds 7.6m. In its last full year in public ownership, the line made a loss of pounds 11.8m.
The Gatwick Express line, also taken over last April, made a pounds 500,000 profit after a pounds 3m payment to the Government and pounds 900,000 exceptional charges.
National Express has cut about 300 jobs from the two franchises - equivalent to an 18 per cent staff reduction. If it imposes the same level of job cuts at its three new franchises - ScotRail, Central Trains and North London Trains -it could mean a further 1,400 job losses.
Phil White, chief executive, would not be drawn on the precise level of job losses but he said there was significant scope for cost savings.
He was speaking as the group announced a 45 per cent rise in pre-tax profits last year to pounds 60.1m.
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 3 Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims
- 4 EDL marches on Newcastle as attacks on Muslims increase tenfold in the wake of Woolwich machete attack which killed Drummer Lee Rigby
- 5 Farewell, Shameless. Your heirs have work to do
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.