By Max Clarke

Profits across National Express Group plc (LSE: NEX) have surged ahead by 26%, buoyed in particular by growth in the group’s low-cost public transport services.

The continued squeeze on disposable incomes both in the UK and North America is increasingly persuading the public to seek out value, greatly boosting the group’s sales. The half year performance statement reads:

”the excellent value offered by our coach brands to hard-pressed consumers, and the cost saving opportunity offered to our North American customers through outsourcing are all driving good growth across our divisions and will continue to [drive growth]”.

Revenue edged past the £1.1bn mark for the 6 months ending June 2011- an increase of more than £50m compared to the same period last year.

"We have had a strong first half, and driven margin enhancement and organic growth across our businesses. Operating profit has grown by 23% and we have reinstated the interim dividend,” said Dean Finch, National Express Group Chief Executive.

"We continue to invest in growth and are well placed to deliver further operational improvements. As we complete our margin recovery programme, we are focused on organic growth, new contract wins, and carefully targeted opportunities in attractive markets.”

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