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July 30, 2008

NEC Group publishes financial results

The NEC Group has announced an operating profit of £34.9m in the year to 31 March 2008. The Group’s exhibition business individually delivered £26.3m of this operating profit, in a year that marked the lowest point of the traditional four-year cycle of exhibitions.

After taking into account interest payments on the historical loans taken out to build the venues, there was a surplus of £2.9m for Birmingham City Council.

Hornby: Strong results

The ICC team delivered both record turnover and profit in the year, as well as winning the title of the UK’s premier purpose-built conference venue, for the second consecutive year, in a competition organised by leading industry publication Conference & Incentive Travel.

Operating profit was up 12% at The ICC on the previous year. Almost all of this increase was attributable to the impact of the contract to operate the new national Convention Centre in Dublin, which is scheduled to open in 2010.

The Group’s Arenas division, comprising the NEC Arena, The NIA and The Ticket Factory, built on a strong performance in 2006/7 with a further 2.6% increase in operating profit.

The programme of updating the NEC site continued, with £28.3m of the £40m Venue Improvement Programme fund spent by 31 March 2008.

During the year the NEC team also completed its relocation to new offices, situated in the heart of the exhibition centre. Not only does this move bring the business closer to its customers and visitors, but it also enabled the previous HQ building, NEC House, to be sold. The building is in the course of being converted to a 160-room Ramada Encore hotel, thus delivering much needed additional hotel room capacity and choice to the NEC site.

John Hornby, The NEC Group’s chief operating officer, said: “These are a strong set of financial results even though 2007/8 was at the low point of our regular exhibition cycle. Despite the hardening economic conditions, we delivered a result that was ahead of our internal expectations.

“We are particularly pleased with the excellent performance delivered by the ICC team. The venue continues to win industry accolades but has also delivered record financial results and has made a great start on the management contract for the Convention Centre, Dublin”.

“Whilst the direct financial performance of the NEC Group is very important, the indirect impact the business has on the regional economy is of greater significance. This was underlined by a recent KPMG survey which showed more than £2bn a year comes into the West Midlands because of The NEC Group’s activities and that we support almost 29,000 jobs”.

“The coming year promises to be a very exciting one for the NEC Group. The £28m project to upgrade the NEC Arena is now progressing rapidly following the signing of a major sponsorship deal with electronics giant LG and we are looking forward to working with our partners, Genting Stanley, to progress plans for a £90m leisure and entertainment complex, which stands to transform the NEC site”.

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