NEC posts Â£24.1m operating profit
by Annie Byrne
The NEC Group posted an operating profit of £24.1m in the year to 31 March 2010.However, after taking into account interest on historic loans to build the venues and fund more recent refurbishments, the group saw an overall loss of £12.3m.The group’s exhibition business based at The NEC delivered a profit of £29.6m, down 27 per cent from the previous year. This may be due in part to the ‘down’ year of the traditional four-year exhibition cycle.The group’s arenas, convention centres and online ticketing site The Ticket Factory all showed steady growth in revenue, but the NEC venue saw a continuing decline in revenue that began in the financial year of 2006/07.NEC Group CEO John Hornby says: “We had anticipated and planned for a very rough year of trading in 2009/10, and this was borne out in practice. The exhibition and convention businesses were hit particularly hard by the general economic situation, but the results also reflect the usual exhibition cycle and the financial impact of a number of long-term deals completed to secure exhibitions at The NEC against the backdrop of an intensely competitive venue market in the UK.“We took some hard decisions during the year, in particular around delivering a cost base that reflects more difficult trading prospects. These actions, which included a significant reorganisation that sadly resulted in redundancies, will make a significant contribution to underpinning the sustainability of The NEC Group over the next few years.”The group put on 828 events in the year and saw 3.9m visitors, with an estimated regional economic benefit of over £2bn.