The International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales) has secured an innovative funding package with NatWest and its shareholders to safeguard the future of the venue.
The seven-figure funding package provided by NatWest and joint shareholders Celtic Manor and the Welsh Government, will support the Newport-based convention centre which closed its doors in March when the meetings and events sector was one of the first to feel the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The business events industry remains one of the only sectors not to have been granted permission to reopen at any stage and this funding package will provide a vital lifeline as ICC Wales adapts its facilities and safety protocols in readiness for welcoming delegates again, as soon as government guidance allows.
The 26,000 sqm venue includes 15 meeting rooms, a 4,000 sqm hall and 700 car parking spaces with direct access to the atrium lobby. It opened its doors in September 2019 after a two-year build supported by an initial funding package from NatWest.
Mark Colcomb, Vice-President, Finance and Support at ICC Wales, said:
“This has been a devastating time for the entire meetings industry. Having opened with a number of very successful events in autumn 2019, ICC Wales has now been closed longer than it was open. Although a return to business is still not yet on the horizon, we are delighted to have this financial support that puts us in a stronger position to reopen when the time comes.
“We have been busy working with Welsh Government and industry bodies to set the standards for reopening in the safest way possible, and we have also been working constantly with our clients to reschedule events for future dates. We look forward to once again being able to deliver world-class events and exhibitions in safety.”
Stuart Allison, Nicky Hakim and Chris James at NatWest and Lombard Asset Finance supported by Omar Al-Nuaimi and Joe Roberts at Osborne Clarke have worked with Mark and the team at ICC Wales since the very start of the construction project in 2017.
Stuart Allison, NatWest Relationship Director, said:
“Covid has created unprecedented economic challenges to many businesses, none more so than those in the hospitality and events sectors. ICC Wales’ brief yet successful opening ahead of lockdown proved what an exceptional, world-class facility we have here in South Wales.
“Having funded the initial development, we have crafted a package designed to support the business through this unprecedented period. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we cannot wait for some sort of normality to return and ICC Wales to be allowed to reopen its doors.”