Trends and deals we are currently tracking include:
- thetrainline.com prospectively coming on the market for sale – Maddox conducted the commercial due diligence for the current owners, Exponent PE, in a 2006 transaction worth £163m. UK rail continues to grow, as does the penetration of on-line bookings, which bodes well for thetrainline.com.
- The re-letting of passenger rail franchises for Greater Anglia and Intercity West Coast
- Maddox developed the demand and revenue forecasts for the current Greater Anglia franchise, as part of National Express’ winning bid; as well as related analyses such as development plans for Stansted Express. With only an eighteen month contract up for bid currently, those who know the patch well or this type of railway operation will be most competitive. However, the franchise may become the test bed for greater vertical integration in the future, thus increasing the attractiveness of bidding now.
- Maddox’s MD Tony Davis oversaw the Intercity West Coast franchise when he served as an interim Franchise Director at the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA); which has been in Virgin’s hands for over a decade. The next step for Intercity West Coast will be to deliver the fuller benefits made possible by the c. £9bn upgrade of the West Coast mainline, and towards the end of the next franchise period may need to contend with the start-up of High Speed 2. In the interim, leveraging yield management systems to the maximum and competing with air travel will be key issues.
- Airports sales in the UK. Macquarie’s 49% stake in Newcastle airport is expected to be for sale this year, with the other 51% remaining with the South Tyneside Council. The BAA divestment will also see the sale of Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh.