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Southwater Event Group celebrates growth in revenue

By Shropshire Star, 02 January 2019, 16:10PM

The owner of Telford's International Centre has reported a jump in turnover and profit as an increasing number of events brought business to the town.

Southwater Event Group saw turnover rise from £16.1 million to £18.4 million in the year to the end of March.

Meanwhile, pre-tax profits also increased from £1.1 million to £2.2 million.

A statement accompanying the accounts said: "Continual investment in its people, services and facilities to meet the demands of the diverse market place are uppermost within the company's strategy.

"The market for exhibitions and conferences remain competitive, with several competitive venues coming on stream each year.

"Revenues from space hire increased as demand grew, from a combination of new business and repeat business, across the broad cross-section of event types. As a result of the increase in space hire, revenues generated by associated services also increased.

"Costs continued to be tightly controlled with group buying power used wherever possible. Direct costs, as a percentage of sales, increased by 0.2 per cent during the year.

"Significant increases in labour, food and utility costs were suffered during the latter part of the prior year and within the current year, however the impact of these were mitigated by the significant increase in turnover.

"The outlook for the company remains strong, once again supported by high levels of forward-contracted business at the year end."

The company also runs a number of hotels around the centre of Telford, including the Ramada, the Holiday Inn and the International Hotel.

The statement adds: "The hotels have made progress throughout the year. Room revenues increased year-on-year, mainly due to an increase in average room rates. Overall room occupancy levels increased slightly.

"Associated food and beverage revenues increased year-on-year, despite stiff competition from local high street branded restaurants and bars. Revenues from conference and leisure facilities grew slightly, reflecting a broader recover in the UK provincial hotel sector."

The International Centre is continuing to draw events into the town, including the annual UK Dairy Day, which draws crowds of thousands of people, as well as the annual Shropshire Business Awards.

The company increased its staff numbers over the period, with an average of 484 people working for Southwater Event Group over the course of the year – up from 469 the year before.

In recent years the group has invested over £37 million, which has included £400,000 on a new seated auditorium in its Ironbridge Suite and a 300-space multi-storey car park.

It has also landed planning permission for a new hotel beside the international centre.