ACC Liverpool upbeat despite tough year

Arena & Convention Centre Liverpool increased profit despite reduced turnover in the year to the end of March 2012.

The venue, divided into the BT Convention Centre and Echo Arena, recorded a post-tax profit of £271,000, up £17,000 compared to 2011. Turnover fell by 11% to £12.9m.

ACC Liverpool is forecasting that revenue will be bolstered again in 2012-13 and will return to previous levels of more than £14m as seen in 2010/11.

Bob Prattey, chief executive, said: "2011/12 was another year of positive development for ACC Liverpool in the face of challenges presented by the poor economic climate.

"Our latest financial figures reflect the cyclical nature of the events and conference business. The association conference market continues to act as the bedrock upon which BT Convention Centre's business is based and, whilst we have made a significant impact in the corporate market, this sector continues to be affected by the global recession.

"Despite this, we were able to achieve a positive outcome by managing event costs and overheads while maintaining the highest levels of customer service delivery."

In 2011/12, ACC Liverpool held a total of 182 events and welcomed 585,000 visitors. Entertainment highlights at Echo Arena included artists Sir Paul McCartney and Rihanna; comedians Peter Kay and John Bishop; X-Factor auditions and Strictly Come Dancing; and sporting events including the World Netball Series.

BT Convention Centre welcomed the Labour Party autumn conference in September 2011, BBC Worldwide Showcase and the Global Entrepreneurship Congress.

Prattey continued: "As we head into our sixth year, we expect to return to the level of turnover experienced previously. We have now generated a total of £610m in economic benefit to the city since opening in 2008 which will continue to rise as we have many terrific events across the venue confirmed for next year.

"We have built on the progress of our business of previous years and have established a solid platform for our further development."

The convention centre has already confirmed 21 repeat events for 2013 including BBC Worldwide Showcase, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and Swinton Group.

Plans for 2013 also include the start on site next autumn for the venue's new exhibition facility – Exhibition Centre Liverpool – which is expected to contribute an estimated £40m a year to the city region after it opens in 2015. It will be used to stage both trade and consumer exhibitions, as well as large national and international conferences with attached exhibitions, large scale banquets and concerts with a standing capacity of 10,000.

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