THE Scottish Events Campus (SEC) saw a reduction in the number of conferences held last year, but exhibition and live event visitors, along with the sale of land to a hotel developer, saw the business book a £2.5 million profit.

Revenue slipped two per cent to £28.8m at the SEC – which is home to the SEC Centre, the Armadillo and the SSE Hydro – as bosses prepare to push for the £100m funding required for an extension to its conference space.

Mr Duthie said the business was finalising a prospectus, which would be delivered to Glasgow City Council and Scottish Enterprise next month.

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“I’m hopeful we can get the funding,” said Mr Duthie. “The numbers show what it will bring to Glasgow, to Scotland, and indeed to the UK.”

The SEC, which was rebranded from the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in January, is 90 per cent owned by Glasgow City Council. The proposed extension will require funding from the council, along with the Scottish Government, and become self-sustaining thereafter.

The SEC’s business structure means that, in Mr Duthie’s words, “Success is measured not only in financial terms but also by the economic impact of the campus”.

And he said the underlying performance was strong. “It has been a very positive year for the Scottish Event Campus, which generated £414m net additional expenditure in the Glasgow area, equating to over £1m per day.”

This increase in economic impact came in spite of conference turnover falling 21 per cent.

Mr Duthie said the reduction in the conference sector, from 16 international conferences to 12, was anticipated, and followed a record year. The current year is also expected to return lower conference numbers before recovering in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

“We’ve known for a while that the current year is going to be lighter for conferences, as national associations move their shows around the UK, but thereafter it begins to really pick up again,” he said, adding that the highest ever level of future conference business was secured during the period.

Mr Duthie said the SEC was seeing a benefit from the lower sterling since the Brexit vote. “We are seeing conferences benefit from the pound’s weakness.

“Businesses that would normally stay in the Eurozone, the exchange rate means we can be more competitive. And it also means more UK businesses are staying in the UK.”

The group also reported a record year for its exhibition sector with 15 per cent revenue growth, five new shows – taking the total to 45 – and high retention levels for established events. These included, in August, Ignition, a site-wide festival of motoring, which utilised internal and external space on the campus.

The SSE Hydro welcomed more than one million visitors, with major events beyond musical acts including its first televised world championship boxing event and further televised broadcasts of Andy Murray Live, the venue’s first tennis event, and a worldwide broadcast of WWE Wrestling, a first for Scotland.

In spite of this, the venue’s global ranking fell from second to eighth for the financial year, but returned to the number two spot for the first quarter of 2017.

Mr Duthie said the performance was in line with previous years, noting: “The fall to eight for the year is just down to the way dates fall, other centres had Marvel Universe Live in December; we had it in January. And we had Still Game Live in February, which no one else had.”

Operating profit fell to £1.1m from £1.5m, which came about because the SEC changed the way ticket purchases are allocated. Previously, any income received was booked at the time of the transaction, but this has been changed to the date of the event to more accurately reflect income.

This means that for one year only there will be discrepancies surrounding exhibition and event tickets purchased in one financial year, for an event in the next financial year.