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UK's National Express rises as German rail unit wins $1.1 billion contract

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London

(Reuters) - National Express Group said on Monday its German rail transport business won a 1 billion euro ($1.09 billion) contract to operate two lines of the Rhein-Ruhr Express in Germany until 2033, sending shares of the British transport firm up nearly 7%.

The contract, which will make National Express the second-largest rail transport company in the region, is expected to deliver 20 million train kilometres in 2023, the company said.

Shares of the firm rose to their highest levels in more than a month and were trading up 2.5% at 141.1 pence a piece, as of 1138 GMT.

The Rhein-Ruhr-Express (RXR) is a rail network that runs through the North Rhine-Westphalia state in Germany and connects some of the major cities in the country which include Dusseldorf, Duisburg, Bochum, and Dortmund among others.

The company had taken over operations of the two lines last February in an emergency contract award.

National Express, which operates its buses and railways in 11 countries across Europe and North America, saw about 8.4% of its revenue from its German operations in 2021.

($1 = 0.9168 euros)

(Reporting by Muhammed Husain and Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)