The Sarawak Convention Bureau is planning to invest in private meetings-related businesses to secure its long-term financial future, the ICCA Daily can report.
Jill Henry, bureau CEO, said state funding was secured until 2017, with additional support coming from the national Malaysian bureau, MyCEB.
While the situation was ‘stable and healthy’ Henry said she was nervous about relying too heavily on one source of income or ‘putting all our eggs in one basket’. She said the Sarawak state’s benevolent attitude to the meetings industry might change in the future, which would leave the bureau in a financially precarious position.
To head off a potential funding crisis, Henry said the bureau was looking to set up a profit-making subsidiary, most likely an in-house PCO based at the convention centre. Furthermore she said the bureau was planning to invest in meetings-related companies to help shore up the industry in Sarawak, which she said, lacked ‘strong industry players’.
Investments would be made through ‘non-redeemable preference shares’, which guarantee a fixed-price dividend payment but do not allow for any involvement in the company’s affairs.She said the bureau’s articles of association allowed for such arrangements provided tax was paid on any revenues gained.
“We want to become the development bank for the meetings industry in Sarawak,” she said. “We see a risk in not doing this. At the moment our web-developer is a one-man band. We’d feel a lot happier if he was a 10-man band!”