NEC posts a profit, but cuts ahead of ‘challenging’ 2010

NEC Group, which announced 82 redundancies on 15 July, has posted a profit of £2.7m, after interest, on revenues of £128.6m and an operating profit of £36.5m.

The International Convention Centre (ICC) was the jewel in the crown of the Group’s four venues, delivering record turnover and operating profit. Turnover was up 2.4 per cent at £21.5m and operating profit up 21.4 per cent at £6.8m.

Labour and Conservative Party conferences hosted by The ICC brought in a combined £40m to regional businesses, the Group claims.

Chief operating office John Hornby says: “These are a good set of financial results, with record profits from The Arenas and Ticket Factory (the venue’s new ticket agency) and The ICC. The exhibition business delivered an acceptable result as incredibly tough trading conditions started to bite.”

He warns, however: “competitive conditions will hit the exhibition business very hard, and we have seen a material slowdown in corporate conference business at The ICC”.

On the job losses, Hornby says: “It is always difficult to lose good people, but this programme is a necessary part of the steps we have taken to address trading conditions responsibly.”

On a like-for-like basis operating profit for the exhibition business fell by around three per cent, which the Group says reflects the general economic slowdown.

The ICC reports an increasing level of profit from the Group’s management contract for the new Convention Centre Dublin, due to open September 2010, and Hornby says he is “pleased with the level of advanced bookings already secured”.

The Group had spent £35m of its £40m Venue Improvement Programme fund by 31 March 2009 and the City Council reports it used £1.7m of the £2.7m NEC Group surplus to repay loans taken out for improvements to the facilities.

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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