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Record Year for Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre

2012 was the best year ever for the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre. The accounts show records across the board (figures in brackets refer to previous year): sales of SEK 901m (809), operating profit of SEK 118m (71) and profit after financial items of SEK 75m (31).

“The results show that the change process we’ve begun and are now driving is very positive. It’s particularly gratifying that our own trade shows were so successful,” said CEO Carin Kindbom.

All financial ratios for the Group reached record levels. In addition, the total number of visitors rose to 1,190,122 (+ 76,159).

The contribution to tourist spend was over SEK 2.3 billion, up 7 per cent on 2011, according to HUI Research. This is equivalent to 10 per cent of the visitor industry’s total value in the Gothenburg region.

The Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre is therefore the industry’s strongest engine, alongside Liseberg amusement park.

Carin Kindbom noted strong performance in all businesses, apart from a slightly weaker congress year.

“The reason for this must be sought in the past, as the planning of a major congress normally takes three to five years. Fortunately we’re not seeing a downward trend in congress sales. Moreover, our events business continues to perform very positively. The largest increase we’re seeing is in corporate events,” said Kindbom.

Trade show business

However, the trade show business area reported the strongest performance in 2012. Fully 27 trade shows (17) were organised in-house. The net area sold increased by 23 per cent and the business area’s sales totalled SEK 401m, an all-time record.

“This is due to the year’s strong product portfolio but also to improved customer and business environment analysis. Above all, we’re gaining market shares thanks to our business model: an integrated venue that meets our customers’ needs 24/7,” said Kindbom.

The hotel business also showed excellent results for 2012.

“With a 73 per cent occupancy rate and a total of 271,969 guests, Gothia Towers reported one of its best years. The hotel business is performing strongly right now,” said Kindbom.

The Upper House, the additional floors to the central tower including a spa and luxury suites, is set to open this summer. The third tower is scheduled for completion in late autumn 2014. A total of SEK 1.2 billion is being invested in the expansion, which takes the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and Gothia Towers into the international meetings industry’s absolute elite by creating not only one of Europe’s five largest hotels with a total of 1,200 rooms, but also Europe’s largest fully integrated venue in a city centre location.

The restaurant business succeeded in maintaining its 2011 record figures, despite a 2.1 per cent fall in sales of the King Size prawn sandwich in 2012. However, sales of 152,339 prawn sandwiches were the second highest recorded since the prawn sandwich was launched in 1984.