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NEC Group posts earnings of £50m in 'exceptional' 2016

The Birmingham venue group saw EBITA up by 58 per cent and turnover by 18 per cent

Pictured: the NEC Group

The NEC Group had an “exceptional” 2016, with earnings up 58 per cent and turnover by 18 per cent.

The Birmingham-based venue operator reported revenue of £157.7 million for the year to 31 March 2017, up £23.9m on the previous year.

Reported EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) for the trading businesses - including valuation gains on investment properties of £2.6m - was £50.4m, up £18.6m on the underlying position for the previous year.

The group operates five venues in Birmingham - the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), International Convention Centre (ICC), Genting Arena, Arena Birmingham and the Vox Conference Centre - as well as owning caterer Amadeus and national ticketing agency The Ticket Factory. It is the second set of financial results the group has filed since being acquired by LDC in 2015.

NEC Group CEO Paul Thandi said: “This has been an exceptional year, building on the strong maiden results the group posted 12 months ago.”

“We are not content to stand still. We will continue to deliver against our proven strategy, while broadening our business through a focused leisure strategy to give our visitors more compelling reasons to visit. 

“We are progressing other planned developments on our NEC site within the context of our wider campus masterplan and we will continue to extend our footprint through winning third-party venue management contracts and by securing new external opportunities for Amadeus.

He added that the group would continue to invest in its venues, with a particular focus on digital technology, and anticipated further strong growth for the group.

He said: “We are at an early stage of our strategic development. The initiatives we have recently implemented and those planned, allied with the profile of contracted forward bookings across the group, provide us with confidence that our businesses will continue to grow strongly.”

The group’s strategy has been to improve the utilisation and range of uses of the NEC campus and city centre venues and further developing ancillary services. This resulted in several new exhibitions, increased levels of non-exhibition activities held at the NEC and the first full year of rentals from Resorts World Birmingham, operated by Genting. 

The group continued its programme of capital investment. Capital expenditure of £17.2m was incurred during the financial year, up £0.6m on the previous year, with a focus on projects to enhance the customer experience and drive trading performance. This programme included enhancements to hospitality facilities at the Genting Arena and further refurbishments of in-hall catering facilities at the NEC.

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