Shares in National Express were up on the FTSE 250 in afternoon trading after the transport group said it expected full year pre-tax profit for 2010 to be "a little above current market expectations".

The group said that the business recovery plan for its UK Bus business was "delivering ahead of expectations" and that it had launched a five year investment plan to boost capacity and modernise its fleet.

National Express said that its UK Coach business had seen underlying revenue growth of three per cent in the year to date. Again the group said it had launched an investment programme to "improve the customer experience".

The group's UK Rail arm also saw underlying revenue growth of seven per cent in the final quarter and yet again investment to provide 10,000 extra train seats for the peak commuter period.

In North America National Express said it had opened 1,600 new routes and had seen underlying revenue increase six per cent in the period since September.

Dean Finch, National Express' Group Chief Executive, said, "2010 has been a year of tremendous progress for National Express. This is now a much improved business, back on a sound footing and with a strengthened management team, delivering stronger margins and better customer service. We will complete our business recovery programme ahead of schedule, and will look to grow our bus, coach and rail portfolio, leveraging our international presence, and delivering value for customers, stakeholders and investors alike."

By 12:05 shares in National Express were up 6.38 per cent on the FTSE 250 to 241.70 pence per share.