These venues include the National Exhibition Centre itself, the Genting Arena, the Barclaycard Arena (formerly the National Indoor Arena) and the International Convention Centre, as well as the NEC’s other commercial activities including The Ticket Factory, specialist catering business, Amadeus and the NEC’s third party venue management operations.
The NEC Group comprises the UK’s leading live exhibition, arena and conference venues.
On 16 January 2015, LDC entered into a binding agreement to acquire The National Exhibition Centre Group (NEC) in a transaction which values the business at around £307m. On 30 April 2015, LDC announced that it had completed the acquisition of the NEC Group from Birmingham City Council.
The transaction transfers the NEC into private ownership for the first time and allows the business to more easily realise available growth opportunities.
As part of the transaction, LDC will also acquire Birmingham City Council’s interest in Genting Resorts World at the NEC site.
LDC is working alongside the NEC’s current management team, led by Chief Executive Paul Thandi, delivering further strategic organic and acquisition-led initiatives across all business channels, both in the UK and overseas.
NEC's purchase by LDC won 'Deal of the Year' at the Midlands Insider Dealmakers Awards 2015. This deal was widely praised not only for its scale and complexity, but for the impact it will have on the NEC itself and wider Midlands economy.
In June 2017 The NEC Group was crowned 'Large Business of the Year' at the West Midlands Business Masters Awards in Birmingham. The event, which recognises the organisations that have made a significant contribution to the Midlands economy and celebrates business talent in the region, also saw CEO Paul Thandi pick up 'Ambassador of the Year'. These awards followed the NEC Group being named 'Large Management Team of the Year' at the BVCA Management Team Awards in May 2017.
Since LDC's investment, revenue has grown each year, the latest financial results published in October 2017 reported revenue of £157.7m for the year to 31 March 2017, up 17.9% on previous year.
This earnings growth reflects the initial benefits from the strategic focus introduced as part of a transformation agenda which has an emphasis on improving the utilisation and range of uses of the NEC campus and city centre venues and further developing ancillary services. Of particular note were several new exhibitions, increased levels of non-exhibition activities held at the NEC and the first full year of rentals from Resorts World Birmingham, operated by Genting.
We wanted to change our business and realise our business plan. We wanted investment to build new businesses, organically grow our business, invest in our teams and complete some acquisitions to grow our portfolio. We had a choice of a few people to go with, and what I liked the most about LDC was their approach. First and foremost, it wasn't the business, it was the management team that they were interested in. With this management team and the right backer in LDC there is no reason why we cannot grow our business exponentially in the next three to five years. Paul Thandi, Chief Executive, The NEC Group