Shareholders of the NEC Group had to inject £50 million into the business as it battled the crippling effects of the coronavirus lockdowns.
The company owns and operates live events venues such as the National Exhibition Centre and Resorts World Arena in Solihull but these were closed for almost the entire 2020/21 financial year.
This led to a huge hit to its revenues from core income streams such as conferences, music concerts and consumer shows.
Turnover for the year to March 31, 2021, fell to £25.8 million from £158.7 million the previous year while its pre-tax profit slumped from £18.5 million to a loss of £50.4 million.
NEC Group said it remained in a strong financial position, with £101 million of cash on its balance sheet at the end of the accounting period.
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Last year, the National Exhibition Centre was chosen as one of several venues across the country to be a so-called Nightingale Hospital, ready to take any overspill of covid-19 patients from the NHS although ultimately it was never actually used.
Since the end of its 2020/21 financial period, live events have made a tentative return to its venues which is expected to support an upsurge in revenue across the group as it prepares to host sports such as boxing, table tennis and netball at next year’s Commonwealth Games.
The company also operates the International Convention Centre and Utilita Arena in Birmingham, Vox Conference Centre in Solihull, catering arm Amadeus and The Ticket Factory.
A statement from the NEC Group said it had received strong support from its partners and principal shareholder, private equity firm Blackstone.
“The global live events sector has been severely affected by the pandemic and our venues have been closed for almost the entire 12 months of this financial year,” the statement read.
“However, with strong leadership, pro-active banking relationships and supportive shareholders which, led by Blackstone, injected £50 million into the group during the financial year, we have successfully navigated through this challenging period.”
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Chief financial officer Richard Ashton added: “The past 18 months have been extremely difficult for many businesses, including our own.
“As a live events business that has been unable to host events, this has required decisive action and careful financial management.
“We are very fortunate to have such supportive shareholders, as well as a strong relationship with our banks who have supported us during the year with additional cash resources when we needed it.
“This is in part due to how well the business was performing before the lockdown occurred but also due to their belief the business will recover strongly, now that we have reopened.
“With lockdown measures eased, we are now running events again and we have an ambitious programme planned over the next few months.
“While we will continue to face short-term headwinds, including challenges around staffing levels and increased costs due to covid-19 measures, we remain committed to our vision to become Europe’s most successful live events business, operating leading leisure, entertainment and business destinations.”