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Birmingham City Council puts NEC Group up for sale

05 March 2014 by
Birmingham City Council puts NEC Group up for sale

The NEC Group, which includes caterer Amadeus, has been put on the market by owner Birmingham City Council with an undisclosed price tag.

The announcement came after the Council conducted a review of the business, which started out as the National Exhibition Centre in 1976.

It has since grown to be a multi-faceted business that delivers an economic impact of more than £2b a year, a contribution that the Council said it is keen to maintain.

Other venues in the portfolio are the International Convention Centre, the LG Arena and the National Indoor Arena, while national ticket agency the Ticket Factory and hospitality brand Amplify are also included in the sale.

Birmingham City Council described the ancillary businesses within the group as "fast-growing" but "without the risk profile normally associated with local authority-owned businesses".

It said that a private sector owner would likely have greater "appetite" to invest more capital into the Group, while supporting its international growth.

Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, commented: "A key purpose of the City Council investing in establishing the NEC Group more than 30 years ago was to drive economic development and regeneration.

"This has been achieved, but now the NEC Group has reached a point in its evolution where it needs to be able to adopt the financial disciplines of a private, rather than a council-owned company to enable the next stage of strategic development. In doing so, economic impact and job creation can be preserved and enhanced.

"An open sale process has been identified through an extensive strategic review process as the way to achieve full value for this internationally-renowned asset, whilst achieving the other principal objectives of enabling the Group to achieve its potential and growing economic impact."

The NEC Group's management team is led by chief executive Paul Thandi, who has held the position since 2006.

Gleacher Shacklock LLP has been appointed as financial adviser and Wragge & Co LLP as legal adviser in relation to the sale process.

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