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SEC plans to expand in £150m project amid record growth

The Scottish Event Campus (SEC), Glasgow, has applied for planning permission to build a new conference facility and extend its exhibition space as part of an expansion plan, which the BBC reports is worth up to £150m.

The news comes after the venue posted a record year; turnover increased by 1% to £29.1m, EBITDA increased by 11% to £3.8m and operating profit increased by 19% to £1.3m.

SEC chief executive Peter Duthie is quoted as saying: “The new conference facility would allow us to stage two events simultaneously or large conferences on a scale that we currently can't offer.

“We believe our expansion project will provide a significant economic impact, not just to Glasgow and Scotland but to the UK.”

The BBC adds that construction work is expected to start this summer on two new hotels at the campus after SEC sold sites to property developers, adding 400 rooms to the area.

Nine international conferences were held during the year and while conference turnover decreased by 2%, the lower level of turnover was expected and was in line with the cyclical nature of some national and international conferences. Looking ahead, the SEC forecasts a stronger conference performance in 2018/19 and 2019/20. 

Duthie added: “Clearly accommodation is very important, particularly for the conference sector but also for exhibitions and live entertainment.

“The development plans fit with the objectives of Glasgow City Council, as major shareholder, to ensure additional economic benefit across the city in terms of spend on hotels, restaurants, retail, and the related employment creation.”

According to SEC's latest annual results report, the campus generated net additional expenditure of more than £1m per day in the Glasgow area - a total of £400m for the year.

Overall cash balances increased by £5.8m in the year. The level of ticket sales for future SSE Hydro performances during the year was a key contributor. Whilst the business is inherently cash generative, there can be variations from year to year as a result of cash held on behalf of concert promoters.

 Trading profits continue to be reinvested to ensure the existing facilities meet the needs of our customers in an increasingly competitive market. An example of this, and a significant addition, has been the creation of the recently launched SEC Meeting Academy which caters for smaller conferences and meetings.