top of page
  • Writer's pictureMark Watson-Mitchell

Mobico Group – Ahead of Today’s AGM The Question Is Whether National Express Is Going Slower?

Later today the Mobico Group (LON:MCG) is holding its AGM to approve its 2023 Report & Accounts.


It was not a good year for the business, with its adjusted pre-tax profits dropping 36.3% to £92.9m (£145.9m) despite group revenues having lifted 12.2% to £3.15bn (£2.81bn), leading to earnings falling some two-thirds from 15.0p to just 4.5p, with a similar cut in dividends to 1.7p (5.0p) per share.


The Business


This group, formerly called National Express, has the vision to be the world’s premier shared mobility operator, with a declared purpose to lead the modal shift from cars to mass transit.


It is a leading international transport operator, diversified internationally and by business area; with operations in North America, continental Europe, the UK and North Africa, operating in more than 50 key cities in 12 countries across the world, employing over 47,700 people in its workforce.


It operates a fleet of some 27,700 vehicles, last year more than 1bn passenger journeys were made on the group’s various services.


Some 67% of the group’s revenue is generated through multi-year contracts, which is an impressive figure.


When announcing the 2023 results in late April, CEO Ignacio Garat stated that:


“Our 2023 results are below the expectations we set ourselves at the beginning of the year.


The delays due to the additional work relating to the German rail business was regrettable but it is now concluded.


Although group revenue growth was encouraging, driven by passenger demand and actions taken to recover inflation, this has not translated into an improvement in reported profitability.


Our focus remains on delivering the benefits of our restructuring programs and in recovering inflationary costs through pricing, while maintaining a relentless focus on the quality of our offering to support growth.


Opportunities remain to create a more appropriate and sustainable cost structure and we will not hesitate to take action where there is a clear strategic and financial benefit.”


Outlook


The group has stated that, based on current market conditions, adjusted operating profit for FY 24 is expected to be within the range of £185m to £205m, with a greater bias to the second half of the year, due to the phasing of cost reduction programmes and the timing of price increases.


Analyst Views


There are some 8 analysts following the group, most of whom rate the group’s shares as a Buy.


The highest Price Objective is 100p, while the lowest is 65p, with the average consensus coming out at 78.88p per share.


Berenberg has recently downgraded because its latest update showed the business had stalled.


The broker’s analyst, Jack Cummings, moved his recommendation from ‘buy’ to ‘hold’ and cut the target price from 100p to 66p.


Noting that the company had again missed expectations, while introducing full-year 2024 guidance that was some 9% below consensus expectations.


“We remain of the view that there are not any imminent refinancing needs, but we can no longer, with confidence, say the shares should be meaningfully higher on a 12-month view based just on organic performance.”


Increasing Short Interest


With some 614m shares in issue, around 70% of its equity is held by the leading ten professional holders.


However, it is worth noting that in the last month there has been an increase in short selling of the group’s stock, with at least 2.74% being contracted lower, with Systematica Investments, GLG Partners and Marshall Wace being the main players.



The group’s shares are currently trading at around 51p, valuing it at £313m.

Comments


bottom of page