Belfast Telegraph

Venues business NEC Group lifts profits ahead of possible sale

Lloyds’ private equity division bought the firm from Birmingham City Council in 2015.

The owner of Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC) has lifted its sales and profits ahead of a possible sale of the business.

Sales at NEC Group, which owns venues including the International Convention Centre (ICC), Genting Arena, and Arena Birmingham, grew 2.8% to £162.1 million in the 12 months to March 31.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation were up 9.8% to £54.7 million.

The group has ramped up investment into its entertainment spaces, investing £21.7 million into its portfolio, up £4.5 million from the year before, bringing the group’s total investment over the last three years to £48 million.

It included a project to fit 185 digital screens across the NEC, and the transformation of its catering facilities.

The investment comes ahead of a possible sale of the group by LDC, the private equity division of Lloyds Banking Group, which bought the company from Birmingham City Council in 2015.

LDC acquired a 125-year lease on the NEC’s assets and a 25-year lease on the ICC and the National Indoor Arena in the Birmingham city centre.

Paul Thandi, chief executive of NEC Group, 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.”

Attendance at the group’s two music arenas climbed by 17% year on year to 1.6 million, with visitors flocking to see music acts such as Drake, Ed Sheeran, and Lady Gaga.

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