President and CEO 's comments
"2013 - a year of initiatives and investment"
Development and renewal were the hallmarks of the past year. Ongoing initiatives and investment led to
higher costs overall, but the group still reported an operating profit of SEK 49 million. Consolidated cash
flow before investing activities was SEK 76 million.
Construction work on our new venue continued throughout the year. Upper House, a five-star concept with 49 rooms, one suite, upscale restaurant, spa and relaxation zone – all offering world-class luxury – opened in September. The new East Tower will open ahead of schedule in the fall of 2014.
To stay focused on our strategic goals while meeting market demand, we restructured into three operating companies effective January 1: Gothia Towers AB, Svenska Mässan AB, and Bok och Bibliotek i Norden AB. This gives the group a clearer, more market-oriented structure and greater customer focus. We continued working toward our goal of becoming Europe's most attractive venue by offering
the best overall experience.
Gothia Towers AB
The Gothia Towers business comprises hotel and restaurant operations, conferences and events, property management, and exhibitor services. The hotel occupancy rate in 2013 was on a par with recent years, and the number of room nights sold increased slightly to 178,379. Conference business
increased significantly during the year and was up 20.8% on 2012.
Svenska Mässan AB
This business manages most of our exhibitions. As expected, 2013 was a less intensive year, reflecting the wide variation in exhibition cycles. Nevertheless, the overall total of 413,983 visitors was only marginally lower than the 2012 figure. Four new exhibitions were launched during the year:
Scandinavian Coating, ScanPlåt (sheet metal), Nordic Outdoor, and En Öl- & Whiskymässa (beer and whisky).
Bok & Bibliotek AB
Bok & Bibliotek organized the Göteborg Book Fair, the biggest cultural event in the Nordic countries, which
attracted 96,315 visitors and intensive media coverage. MEG – Mediedagarna (Media Days) took place for the second year running, attracting 4,500 visitors. Nordiska Skolledarkongressen is a biannual conference organized in partnership with Sveriges Skolledarförbund, the Swedish Association of School Principals.
Kongressadministration AB has changed its name to Sweden MEETX AB. Services include assisting clients with event budgeting, attendee management, and venue, hotel and travel bookings.
Competition is intensifying in the conference and event industry. Cooperation is essential, both for the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre and for Gothenburg as a destination. Three shining examples of cooperation from the past year:
• The European Athletics Indoor Championships, hosted in partnership with Got Event
• Industridagen (Industry Day), organized in partnership with Industrirådet
• Nobel Week Dialogue, where six Nobel laureates discussed the topic "exploring the future of energy" in partnership with industry, Chalmers University of Technology and other stakeholders.
A strong contribution
In 2013 the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre again made a strong economic contribution to the Gothenburg region. With over 1.2 million visitors and SEK 2.1 billion in visitor spending, we reinforced our position as an engine of growth for Gothenburg's tourism industry. In this way we are meeting the foundation's objective of promoting business in western Sweden. We aim to do so to an even greater extent when the Triple Tower project is complete and our new venue opens in late 2014. Our goal
is to become Europe's most attractive venue by offering the best overall experience. Profitable growth in all parts of the group and increased synergies are prerequisites for success.
We enter 2014 with high ambitions and expectations. Thanks to the steps we have taken to adapt, our ongoing initiatives, and our enhanced executive team, we have every chance of meeting our ambitious targets in the years ahead.
President and CEO