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National Express revenue lifted by UK August holiday

LONDON (Reuters) - British transport group National Express (LSE:NEX) said trading improved in the third quarter thanks to a busy August bank holiday period, and it is on target to meet its full-year expectations after a tough first half.

The bus and train operator said group revenue rose 5 percent in the quarter, with its UK coach service revenue jumping 9 percent thanks to record passengers and revenues during the August bank holiday week.

Outside the UK, like-for-like revenue at the group's Moroccan urban bus business rose 11 percent in the year-to-date and the impacts of austerity and recession at its Spanish intercity coach were offset by new contracts, leaving revenues flat and third-quarter profit slightly higher year-on-year.

National Express posted a 12 percent fall in pretax profit in the first half of 2013, dragged down by the closure of its East Anglia rail service and rising fuel prices.

The group said it is on target to deliver 150 million pounds of free cash flow.

(Reporting by Lorraine Turner. Editing by Jane Merriman)