Friday, 11 September 2009

Ray O'Toole Speaks!


11 September 2009


I promised that I would let you know as soon as we had any more information to share regarding the latest approach we received from the CVC/Cosmen family Consortium.

As you know, last week we received an approach in connection with a possible cash offer of £5.00 per share, which values National Express at £765 million. Please note this is not yet a formal bid.

As a Board, we have been evaluating the potential offer carefully and also speaking with our major shareholders and advisers. Today we have announced to the City that we have agreed to allow the Consortium to progress to the next stage of the process based on the £5 per share indicative offer.

The next stage is known as "due diligence" which is a very structured process that involves the Consortium examining our business and finances in some detail.

The process will take four weeks after which the Consortium will either go ahead with a formal offer of £5.00 per share or walk away.

Its important to note that, under the rules of the Takeover Panel, the Consortium will not be allowed to reduce their offer below £5.00 or increase it above £5.00 as a result of the due diligence work they are about to undertake. Their only options are to make a formal offer at
£5.00 or to walk away.

It is by no means certain that the Consortium will submit a formal offer at the end of the due diligence process. If a formal offer is submitted, the Board will decide on its final recommendation. If a formal offer is not received, the Board plans to continue its independent strategy and to execute our own equity finance plans.

I also want to stress that while the due diligence process is underway we will still be continuing with our plans to prepare to raise equity independently. All of our existing plans, for example East Coast or the move to the new Birmingham Coach station, will all continue unchanged.

I realise it is very easy to be distracted by these ongoing developments as we proceed along the twin track approach of the Consortium's due diligence process, and our own equity financing plans.

However whatever the future direction we take is, it important to remember that we have customers to serve, people to look after and a business to run.

In either scenario it is vitally important that we deliver our year-end performance so please continue with the great work you have been doing so far.

Ray O'Toole - Chief Operating Officer
National Express Group

Network Rail Public Members jolly

*** Tunnel Vision's take on NR's awayday for Public Members***

2009 Railway Garden Competition #XXV

This just in from Chionanthus virginicus...

Last year Eye brought us pictures of a tree on a bridge at Ambergate, resolutely withstanding any lumberjacks who may be patrolling the MML.

As the 2009 season of mists & mellow fruitfulness draws nigh, I popped up to see how the "garden" is getting on.

As you can see, the tree has had a little light "trackside" pruning - nothing too severe.

A team of strolling strimmers & trimmers have carried out more vigorous work on the adjacent bridge (carrying the Matlock branch) revealing more of the structure, but growth on the mainline bridge is doing well, with several silver birch saplings establishing themselves in the parapet wall beyond.

Perhaps Network Rail are leaving them there so they can act as carbon neutral stanchions when the MML is electrified?

For the sake of the kiddies

Good news from this increasingly authoritarian government.

Virtually anyone who comes within 10 yards of a child must now be vetted by the state.

Hopefully this will prevent the sort of disgusting abuse pictured below.

Just because you think you're innocent doesn't mean you're not guilty.

Herr Souter or Hirsute-er?

Looks like the credit crunch is starting to bite at Stagecoach.

Poor Brian Souter is not just re-using carrier bags; now he's stopped using razor blades as well.

Or could it be a case of "beard today, gone tomorrow?"

UPDATE: This from an RSSB reader...

Quick word of thanks for your blog, it certainly livens up the day here.

A friend in ‘beleaguered’ TOC, NXEC, sent me this from the Gruaniad which Eye picked up from the Suffolk Evening Star.

Perhaps the red shoe wearing hairy one is actually a Hirsute-Heir...

Pointless signs #12

This from Sim Harris...

Am I too late to add this Pointless Sign from Luton to your excellent collection?

For those who might be wondering, there never was a second platform in the direction indicated.

This sign was made like this and installed like this, and it's been there for years.

Being in Luton is such a rollercoaster ride of fun and frolics that nobody seems to have noticed.