The NEC Group has announced operating profits of £29.4m across its businesses in the year to 31 March 2011. The figure is £5.3m (22%) up on the previous financial year. Total revenues grew 12.8 per cent to £123.9m.
The NEC Group, which includes the main halls, convention centres, catering business Amadeus, arenas and national ticketing agency The Ticket Factory said the Group’s total deficit was now £7.7m, down from £12.3m in the 2009/10 financial year.
The Arenas and Ticket Factory business delivered record operating profits of £5.2m, up 36.8 per cent. The venue attributed this rise to the newly-refurbished LG Arena, which helped ticket sales increase by 81 per cent to £2.35m.
Operating profits at the Group’s Convention Centres, incorporating the trading results of The ICC and fees earned off The NEC’s management services contract to The Convention Centre, Dublin, increased 25 per cent to £4.5m. The NEC put this down to partial recovery in activity levels following the “severe” downturn in corporate conference business in 2009/10.
“These results represent a strong recovery from the very difficult trading conditions we had to deal with last financial year,” said NEC Group Chief Operating Officer John Hornby.
“The exhibitions and conferencing businesses have performed well, delivering slow but sure recovery from their results in 2009/10, and we are delighted with the growth levels reported in our arenas and ticketing business. “
However, Hornby warned 2011/12 would be a less profitable year for exhibitions.
“Markets are still difficult, in particular those involving direct spending on events by consumers,” he said. “But we have robust strategies and plans in place in all of the businesses to continue to move our financial performance forward.”
The NEC Group chief executive Paul Thandi said nearly four million visitors came to the venue in the last financial year.
“I am pleased with these financial results, which are testament to the efforts of everyone across our businesses in markets that remain challenging,” he continued.
“Our team made a major contribution to the successful opening and early operation of The Convention Centre, Dublin. The venue is in my view, together with The ICC, one of the finest in Europe and the expertise and efforts of The NEC Group team, working with our partners in Dublin, have paid real dividends in a strong start to its trading life.
“Our venue and service management skills are highly-regarded internationally and we are involved at the early stages of a number of further projects.
The NEC recently welcomed Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council Licensing Committee’s decision to award Genting UK the large casino licence for Solihull. The casino is part of a proposed £120m entertainment complex for the Birmingham site.
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