Venue operator NEC Group has reported revenue of £157.7m for the year to 31 March 2017, up £23.9m (17.9 per cent) on the previous year.
Reported EBITDA for the trading businesses (including valuation gains on investment properties of £2.6m) was £50.4m, up £18.6m (58 per cent) on the underlying position for the previous year. These results are the second set published since the group was acquired by private equity firm LDC in May 2015.
“This has been an exceptional year, building on the strong maiden results the group posted 12 months ago,” commented NEC Group CEO Paul Thandi. “As part of our transformation agenda, we are implementing an exciting and focussed strategy which starts with a deep understanding of the needs of our customers and visitors.
“That understanding is in large part obtained from the insight we draw from data. We invest our resources to address those needs and improve the experience of our customers and visitors, and we can see the benefit of that approach in the significant levels of new business we have secured.”
New exhibitions hosted for the first time at the venue include Automechanika Birmingham, Destination Star Trek and the UK Games Expo.
“We are not content to stand still,” continued Thandi. “We will continue to deliver against our proven strategy, whilst broadening our business through a focused leisure strategy to give our visitors more compelling reasons to visit. This includes two visitor attractions to be delivered by Merlin Entertainments at our NEC and city centre sites in the next 12 months and new long-stay content such as Dinosaurs in the Wild, which we hosted at NEC this summer.
“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.
“We are continuing to invest in our venues to improve the visitor experience, with a particular focus on digital technology. That investment will supplement our already exceptional capabilities to draw insight through the analysis of customer data.”
The Group has also continued its programme of capital investment, with capital expenditure of £17.2m incurred during the financial year, up £0.6m on the previous year. The focus is on projects to enhance the customer experience and drive trading performance.
The programme included major enhancements to hospitality facilities at the Genting Arena and further significant refurbishments of in-hall catering facilities at the NEC.
“We are proud to be a central part of the West Midlands’ visitor economy, and look forward to our growth in scope and activity enhancing further the regional economy and its national and international profile,” concluded Thandi. “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.”
As well as the Birmingham-based NEC and the Genting Arena, the New Group owns caterer Amadeus and ticketing company The Ticket Factory.