Investment set to secure long term future of NEC Group

CONTINUED investment in new facilities will help to determine the long-term success of the NEC Group, its chief executive has said.

Paul Thandi said the improvements were necessary to ensure the group remained ahead of the competition.

The investment is also significant as it is set against a tough market. Evidence of this was demonstrated in the group’s full year results which showed a near £17m operating profit but reduced performances across most areas of the business.

Mr Thandi said: “I am pleased the efforts of everyone across our businesses resulted in us achieving a financial result for the 2011/12 year that was ahead of our budget expectations.

“Although our planning anticipated an unhelpful macro-economic environment, the extent of economic uncertainty has been such that our markets have been tougher than we expected.  However, our teams have delivered by remaining firmly focused on giving our visitors great experiences of the vast array of live content that our venues continue to host.

“In addition to delivering a strong financial result given the market conditions, we have continued to invest in the future of our business.”

One of the principal projects is the £20m facelift currently underway at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham which Mr Thandi said would establish the facility as “an exciting and iconic contemporary venue” in the heart of the city.

He confirmed the group’s tie-in with Barclaycard over the scheme, which will see the venue officially dubbed The NIA, A Barclaycard Unwind Experience. The refurbishment is due for completion in late 2014.

The group said it had also made significant progress with its partner Genting on the project to create the £120m casino and leisure complex at the NEC site.  

Genting, official shirt sponsors of Aston Villa, has received outline planning permission from Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council for the development and full permission is expected to be granted in the early autumn.

Genting is on-track to open the complex in early 2015, and Mr Thandi said this would be a major step in The NEC Group’s plans to create ‘Destination NEC’; a strategy that will see the NEC complex become one of Europe’s leading business and leisure destinations.

“The current financial year is set to be an exciting one for the NEC Group.,” he said.

“Our international team is busy across Europe and beyond on a number of projects that we hope will secure us further international management contracts. Our team at Amadeus is working tirelessly to deliver a number of major catering contracts over the summer period, including for the northern part of the Olympic Park during the Olympic and Paralympic games, the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open and the Hampton Court Flower Show.

“And across the group, we are continuing to invest in our businesses, from ticketing, catering and other services, as well as in the venues themselves where we are hosting a rich programme of world-class content that provides the millions of people who visit us with truly memorable experiences.”