National Express

Long term engagement with a management team to develop a comprehensive communications strategy.

A long term h2glenfern client, National Express, is a leading transport provider delivering services in the UK, Continental Europe, North Africa, North America and the Middle East.

In 2007, the company’s fortunes changed. The UK government terminated their franchise for the East Coast rail operation, their debt ballooned, and as a result their shares significantly underperformed both their peers and the broader market. As a result of this, in 2009, the company decided to undertake a deeply discounted rights issue to repair its balance sheet and help turn the company around and return it to its former strength.

In February 2010, having concluded the rights issue, the experienced industry expert Dean Finch joined the company as CEO. As part of his role, Dean was tasked with

  • Rebuilding trust with all stakeholders
  • Developing, articulating and executing a clear business strategy
  • Restoring shareholder and stakeholder confidence in the business

Early on in his new post, Dean contacted h2glenfern and asked for their help. He recognised that to rebuild trust with all his stakeholders; the company needed to develop and promote a new messaging and communications strategy that effectively articulated the progress that was being made in the business. In simple terms, the principal aim was to create a plan that delivered a series of messages demonstrating in unambiguous terms how the company was successfully moving forward.

Working with Dean and his senior management team, h2glenfern developed a series of consistent written, verbal and visual presentations to be used in their annual reports, investor meetings and roadshows. The narrative centred around Dean’s strategy of operational excellence and the benefits that operational excellence would deliver in terms of safety, customer satisfaction and reliability. This, in turn, would also be the driver for enhanced shareholder returns.

h2glenferns involvement in the company’s communications strategy has extended over multiple years and reporting periods, working closely with Dean and his management team to build on and evolve the key themes and messages. As the business began to return to health, the strategy of a strong culture of operational excellence continued to dominate. With each passing year, the excellence bar was raised higher.

Over the last ten years, the results have been impressive. In 2009 there was little confidence in the company or its management team, and for many, the stock had become “uninvestable”. Under Deans expert guidance, the company has seen a reversal of fortunes and has continued to perform strongly. The cost of its debt capital has dropped significantly, and the company has created material equity value for its shareholders. 

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