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NEC Group earnings up 10 per cent to £55 million

The group also reported revenue of £162.1m, up £4.4m (2.8 per cent) on the previous year

Pictured: Arena Birmingham, one of the NEC Group's venues

NEC Group has reported a 10 per cent rise in earnings to £55 million in its financial results for the year to 31 March 2018.

The Midlands-based group, which operates five live events venues and owns caterer Amadeus and ticketing agency The Ticket Factory, also reported revenue of £162.1m, up £4.4m (2.8 per cent) on the previous year.

Earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) have continued to grow since the year end with unaudited EBITDA over the twelve months to 31 May 2018 now standing at £60m, up £12m compared with the year to 31 May 2017. These results continue the growth since the buyout of the group in 2015.  

The earnings growth reflects the group’s strategy to broaden the range of events across the NEC campus and city centre venues following investment in facilities and increasing use of customer data analytics to maximise new event opportunities.

The group also benefitted from increased levels of rent from Resorts World Birmingham, the £150m leisure and entertainment complex at the main NEC site operated by Genting, which enjoyed growth in footfall and customer spend. In addition, revenue has begun to be generated from agreements with Merlin Entertainments for new visitor attractions – The Bear Grylls Adventure at NEC and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at Arena Birmingham –opening in 2018 and from the planned Moxy Hotel development.

NEC Group CEO Paul Thandi said: “This has been another exceptional year as we see further benefits of what is now a proven strategy. We continue to use our market-leading insight drawn from a wealth of customer data to work with promoters and organisers to grow their shows and launch new content.

“We have a clear plan to expand the leisure offer on our sites, building on the success of Resorts World Birmingham and our fantastic range of consumer exhibitions and arena shows. The opening of two new Merlin Entertainments’ attractions later this year will be important milestones in the delivery of that plan.

The programme of capital investment to drive incremental earnings continued. Capital expenditure of £21.7m was invested, up £4.5m on the previous year. This included the start of a major project to install 185 high-specification digital screens across the NEC campus, hall upgrades at the ICC, continuation of the transformation of catering outlets at NEC and work to prepare the two areas designated for Merlin Entertainments’ visitor attractions.

Thandi added: “Extensive capital investment into our venues – £48m over the last three financial years – has focused on projects that improve customer experience and deliver earnings growth. This programme will continue into the current financial year with major changes to the NEC site as we continue our roll-out of digital screens and deliver a major facelift to our original exhibition halls.

“The whole team at NEC Group has delivered exceptionally over the three years since the buyout of the business. Our order books for events are at record levels and we will continue to develop existing events and introduce new content and leisure attractions – growing our current audiences and creating new ones.”

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