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2016-09-13 - Prague Congress Centre Has a New Commercial Director

On September 1st, Lenka Žlebková joined the Prague Congress Centre as the new Commercial Director. Lenka brings years of highly successful experience in the congress and events sector to the Czech Republic’s largest congress venue.
Lenka Žlebková is a leading figure in the congress and events sector in the Czech Republic, having played a key role in Prague’s prolific rise as a meetings destination. 
  
Lenka graduated from the Prague University of Economics where she studied international business, specialising in tourism. During her studies she also spent time at the Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris where she specialised in international marketing, gaining a wealth of knowledge which proved highly effective in her professional career.     
In the 15 years since graduating, Lenka has successfully developed her career in the tourism, hotel and event sector in the Czech Republic and the US.  
Lenka names the major milestones in her career to date as her time as Commercial & Marketing Director of the 5-star President Hotel in Prague from 2005 to 2010, and subsequently as Director of the Prague Convention Bureau (PCB). In the four years under Lenka’s leadership the PCB was remarkably successful, playing a major role in Prague’s prolific rise as a leading meetings and events destination. During her tenure of the PCB, Prague rose from 19th to 10th place in the ICCA global ranking of most popular cities according to number of association meetings held. Lenka was also a key figure in the successful bid to bring the prestigious ICCA Congress to Prague which will be hosted at the Prague Congress Centre in November, 2017.   
Over the past two years, Lenka has worked as a consultant and lecturer on strategic management, sales and marketing at the hospitality consultancy, Perfect Hotel Concept. Over the same period she also specialised in new project launches, covering complete processes from creating business plans, through to implementation.  
Lenka comes to the Prague Congress Centre with a number of clear goals, including further improving the venue’s financial results, first and foremost through attracting major congresses and conventions. To this end she intends to fully harness the benefits of hosting the ICCA Congress in 2017.

2015-08-03 - Prague Congress Centre to Appoint New General Manager

Michal Kárník has resigned from his post as General Manager of the largest congress centre in Prague and the Czech Republic upon agreement with the executive board
 
“When I took up my position in 2004, the Prague Congress Centre (PCC) had debts amounting to over CZK 3 billion. Today I’m leaving the company not only debt free, but with CZK 920 million in the bank and with bright prospects, a solid team of employees and reliable business partners,” Mr. Kárník commented on his departure. Following 11 years of his leadership, the future of the PCC certainly is promising. The company now has healthy finances, is stable and is set to bring profits to its shareholders, not only in the form of contributing to the public budget, but also with dividends.    
 
11 years is a long time to stay in a top position of an organisation; typically top managers hold similar posts for considerably shorter periods. “This is part of the reason we agreed with the General Manager to end his term at the helm of the PCC. With the new perspectives a successor with a fresh outlook will replace a crisis manager,” Chairman of the PCC Executive Board Radim Haluza commented.         
 
The PCC projects an overturn of over CZK 500 million and net profit of over CZK 50 million and an investment of almost CZK 450 million over the next 3 years. The investment will finance the construction of new exhibition space covering around 5.000 m2, which will enable the PCC to host the largest international congresses and conferences with accompanying exhibitions. These prospects are the legacy of Mr. Kárník’s leadership, as is the full programme of upcoming concerts, musicals, and operas in the PCC. 

2015-06-26 - Prague Congress Centre increased revenues by 9% in 2014

2014 was the last year in which the financial performance of the Prague Congress Centre (PCC) was effected by the debt arising from the reconstruction and expansion of the venue in preparation for the annual meeting of the board of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in 2000. The PCC generated a total income of 458.9 million Czech Crowns (CZK) in 2014, a 9 percent rise on the previous year. Nevertheless, due to one-off expenses for the transfer of operating rights for the Holiday Inn Prague Congress Centre to the PCC, and final payment and servicing of the above-mentioned debt, the venue’s final balance for the year was a loss of CZK 69 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) totalled CZK 91.7 million.

“The Prague Congress Centre’s financial performance in 2014 was not bad at all. We hosted a large number of international congresses and cultural events attracting over 400,000 delegates and visitors,” PCC General Manager Michal Kárník commented on the results.

The largest congress hosted at the PCC in 2014 was the Conference of the European Association for International Education (EAIE), which was attended by over 5000 delegates from over 90 countries. Some 200 of the world’s leading universities exhibited and the conference.

In addition to association congresses, 2014 was a busy year for cultural events in the PCC. In December 2014, the Czech production of the hit musical Mamma Mia! opened and to date has sold over 150,000 tickets. The musical will run at least until the end of 2015 with over 130 performances. Other acts and musicians who performed at the PCC in 2014 included Jethro Tull, Buena Vista Social Club, Paul Anka, Tori Amos, Tony Benett, YAMATO, Tommy Emmanuel, Los Vivancos and the Moscow City Ballet.         

“We are very positive about 2015. Thanks to increased revenues we expect an operating income (EBITDA) of around CZK 132 million and some 600,000 delegates and visitors. Right now the eleven-day 26th congress of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics is taking place with 4500 specialists in attendance. In August, 3500 geochemists will meet at the PCC for the Goldschmidt Conference. Over 2000 paediatricians are due to attend the European Society for the Paediatric Urology: (ESPU) Congress in October, while 2000 specialists in the field of resuscitation are also expected in October for the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) congress.        
We expect a number of high profile concerts in the PCC will sell out. Upcoming concerts include French pianist Richard Clayderman who on October 20th returns to the PCC after 20 years. The next day Italian jazz trumpeter Chris Botti will take to the stage with his orchestra. To round off the year’s cultural events, this year’s Christmas Gala Concert will see Adam Plachetka a Kateřina Kněžíková lead performances of works by W. A. Mozart,” Michal Kárník said.       
On June 24th, the General Meeting of the PCC’s boards approved the final financial statement and annual report for 2014 and at the same time approved provisional plans for the company’s future development.  

2014-11-03 - A Busy Autumn for the Prague Congress Centre

The Prague Congress Centre has been a hive of activity this autumn hosting seven European and world congresses and conferences.    
 

7. – 12. 9.  18th IMC, 2014 – Over 3,000 delegates from 68 countries attended the 18th International Microscopy Congress at which there were 76 exhibitors. The event also featured the Labyrinth of Microscopy interactive exhibition, which was open to the public.
16. – 20. 9 EAIE – Over 5,000 delegates from 90 countries and almost 200 exhibitors attended the 26th European Association for International Education. 
23. – 26. 9. EACMFS – A total of 1,702 participants from 66 countries attended the 22nd Congress of the European Association for Cranio-Maxillo-Facial Surgery.
6. – 10. 10. ECNDT – The 11th European Congress of Non-destructive testing was attended by 1,500 delegates.
12. – 17. 10. EANS 2014 – The 15th Congress of the Association of Neurosurgical Societies with an accompanying exhibition was attended by over 1,500 delegates.
12. – 17. 10. The 5th Annual Dental Implant Symposium welcomed 400 delegates from North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
27. 10. - 1.11. ESID – Over 2,000 delegates attended the 16th Biennial Meeting of the European Society for Immunodeficiencies. 

Providing the possibility for scientists, pedagogues and other experts to meet, share know-how and expertise, and establish cooperation are the key benefits of the congress sector.
 
The largest congress at the PCC this autumn, the EAIE, is the largest gathering in Europe dedicated to higher education at which the world’s leading universities were represented by delegates and exhibitors.                
 
Leading experts in their fields participated in all of the recent congresses at the PCC. For example, a keynote speaker at the ESID was Aaron Ciechanover, a winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.     
 
In addition to the international congress, over the past two month the PCC was also the venue for several national congress including:    
 
26. – 27. 9. The Mary Kay annual conference attended by over 1.700 delegates.
21. – 23. 10. GIS ESRI - The largest annual congress in the Czech Republic dedicated to the science of geo-information was attended by over 600 participants 
 




The PCC also hosted a number of cultural and social events in September and October. In all the PCC welcomed over 24,000 delegates and visitors over these two months.
 
The Prague Congress Centre is the only venue in the Czech Republic with capacity to host congresses and conferences with over 1,500 participants and accompanying exhibitions.        
 
 

 

2014-10-23 - Prague Congress Centre Hosts Charity Exhibition Artmeetpoint 2014

From October 23rd, 2014, through to January 15th, 2015, Prague Congress Centre (PCC) is hosting the modern art exhibition Artmeetpoint 2014 as a partner. The exhibition is situated in the PCC’s Winter Garden with visitors invited to pay a voluntary donation for admission.    
 
The Artmeetpoint 2014 exhibition presents a diverse range of artworks, from photography (digital and analogue), paintings and graphic art, through to sculpture. Within the framework of the exhibition several specialist workshops and lectures are to be hosted in the PCC    
 
Artmeetpoint 2014 represents an extension of the Photomeetpoint 2013 dedicated to non-commercial Czech photography, and like last year’s project, proceeds from the voluntary admission will and part of the proceeds from the sale of the artwork will go to the Jedlička Institute and Schools for physically disabled young people in Prague.      

In February the exhibition will move to the town of Ústí nad Labem in the north of the Czech Republic. Later in 2015 the exhibition will be hosted in Dresden, Germany, thanks to cooperation between the Northern Bohemia region and the Free State of Saxony.   
 
 
 
The Artmeetpoint 2014 exhibition is organised by the A.P. Promo agency together with the civic initiative Niké under the auspices of the Cargo Gallery.
 
For more information visit www.artmeetpoint.eu and www.cargogallery.eu

2014-07-14 - Prague Congress Centre Now Debt-Free – Future Prospects Bright

Prague Congress Centre (PCC) has successfully completed a long, and at times fraught, process of settling debts which arose in connection with hosting the Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group in 2000. On the June 20th, 2014, the PCC made its final repayment to Komerční banka. Over the past years, servicing the debt consumed up to 40% of the PCC’s annual turnover. In 2012, for example, the company paid CZK 90 Million in interest and another CZK 90 Million in repayments.

“We are really pleased about the outcome we have achieved,” Václav Novotný, Chairman of the PCC Board of Director’s, comments. “Two years ago we set ourselves the task [of settling the debts] which initially appeared to be doomed to failure. At the time we were unpleasantly surprised to discover that insolvency was a real underlying threat, which obviously no one had addressed over the previous 12 years. It transpired that we had to negotiate with three different governments from across the political spectrum during a period of great political upheavals in the Czech Republic. The fact that under such circumstances we managed to settle the PCC’s debts is an unequivocal success, which few believed was achievable,” Mr. Novotný explains.

“It’s important to emphasize that our efforts were not to serve only the interests of the company, but also had far wider pragmatic reasons. The Congress Centre is the only place not only in Prague but the whole Czech Republic able to host large international conventions. And the positive turnaround in the PCC’s fortunes has put the venue back on track to becoming a leader in the international events sector. This is exemplified by the decision earlier in 2014 by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) to host their prestigious annual congress at the PCC in 2017. ICCA’s selection of our venue took into account the successful on-going measures and initiatives by the PCC to modernize the building dating from the early 1980’s to meet the standards and requirements of the 21st Century,” Mr. Novotný adds.

As part of the initiative to place the PCC among the world’s leading large conference venues, on March 1st, 2014, the PCC took over management of the 4-star Holiday Inn Prague Congress Centre from the company Targa Management, which managed the hotel since its opening in 2000. The agreement means that the PCC has taken over the hotel, which is situated next door to the Conference Centre, 17 years earlier than foreseen in the original lease contract. With the hotel under its own management the PCC is now in a position to better coordinate activities involving both the Congress Centre and the hotel.

The PCC’s two shareholders, the Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic and the City of Prague, have risen the registered capital of the PCC by CZK 800 Million. These funds will be used first and foremost for the reconstruction and refurbishment of the interiors of the PCC’s main building, acquisition of new technological equipment, and upgrading the acoustics in the venue’s largest hall, which is also a popular venue for concerts and cultural performances. The construction of a further 5,000 to 6,000m² of exhibition space is also planned.   Smaller amounts will be allocated for repairs and refurbishments in the Vyšehrad Business Centre and the Holiday Inn PCC.

“Further modernization is essential for the hosting of future congresses to be held in the PCC,” Michal Kárník, the PCC’s General Manager, explains. “In addition to the ICCA Congress, larger events to take place in the PCC include the Euroasphalt & Eurobitume Congress in 2016 with more than 5,000 delegates. And in 2020, the International Anesthesia Research Society’s annual congress for 12,000 participants will be one of the largest congresses to ever be held not only in the PCC but in the whole Czech Republic. Currently in our reservation system we have over 200 events booked to take place in 2015 through to 2020,” Mr. Kárník adds.

2014-05-26 - Prague Congress Centre to Host ICCA Annual Congress 2017

The Prague Congress Centre (PCC) is delighted to announce that the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) has selected the PCC as the venue for its Annual Congress 2017. Prague’s was one of three shortlisted bids, together with Gdansk, Poland, and St. Petersburg, Russia, presented to the ICCA board on the eve of the IMEX 2014 show in Frankfurt, Germany, which took place on May 20-22.

“As always, this has been another tremendously tough bidding competition between highly ambitious destinations, conducted in a wonderful ICCA spirit of friendliness and fairness, with all of the candidates showing creativity, professionalism and commitment towards ICCA’s strategic business objectives, including our keenness to further develop the association’s membership in Eastern Europe. With ICCA never having previously held our Congress in the Czech Republic, I have no doubt that our friends in Prague will put on a wonderful experience for our members, and that knowledge and expertise will be transferred in both directions, from our global experts to local meetings professionals, and vice versa,” ICCA President Arnaldo Nardone commented.

Prague’s successful bid was led by the Prague Convention Bureau directed by Lenka Žlebková. “The competition was really tough and we are very happy that we succeeded… we are absolutely excited about Prague’s win, especially because we managed to create a strong team consisting of representatives of the private and public sectors over the course of the past year,” Ms Žlebková said, adding that the active participation in the bid of Prague’s Mayor, Tomáš Hudeček, and deputy Mayor, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the PCC, Václav Novotný, and their personal presentations to the ICCA board were a key factor in the success.

The Managing Director of the Prague Congress Centre, Michal Kárník, also points to the constructive engagement of the leadership in Prague City Hall in the bid and also the future of the PCC: “In 2013, Prague’s bid to host the ICCA Annual Congress in 2016 was unsuccessful in part due to the uncertain future of the PCC and unresolved issues concerning the financing of the centre’s much needed modernization. At the end of 2013, however, thanks to concerted cooperation between representatives of Prague City Hall, the Czech Ministry of Finance and the PCC management, all the key issues were resolved and it was thus possible to successfully address all the reservations of the ICCA board and demonstrate that we’re able to fulfil our promises."

"I’m delighted that the ICCA Annual Congress 2017 will take place in Prague and we will do everything to ensure that it will be one of the most successful international events to take place in our city,” Mr. Kárník added.
 
The PCC would like to thank all members of the successful bidding team, the ICCA board, and also the bidding teams from Gdansk and St. Petersburg for sincerely congratulating Prague’s successful bid; we wish them every success in their future bids and look forward to future cooperation.
      
With 20 halls, 50 meeting rooms and capacity for up to 10,000 participants, the PCC is the largest congress and convention centre in the Czech Republic. The venue is located on the edge of Prague’s historic centre, has excellent transport connections and boasts beautiful views over the city.  (Click here for more information).

2013-04-29 - Prague Congress Centre Returns to Profit – Future Remains Uncertain

Prague Congress Centre Returns to Profit – Future Remains Uncertain 


Following several challenging years, the Prague Congress Centre returned a profit of CZK 61.2 Million for 2012 – a result due only in part to the strengthening of the Czech Crown. Nevertheless, the future remains uncertain for the company: the question remains as to how to settle the debts incurred from hosting the IMF and World Bank summits in 2000 “upon the behest of the state”. Will Prague remain among the most popular destinations for hosting congresses? The Prime Minister has promised an answer in two months’ time. 
             
The Prague Congress Centre has posted a profit of CZK 61.2 Million for 2012. Nevertheless, the company’s finances are susceptible to changes in the exchange rate between the Czech Crown and the Euro, largely due to the fact that company bonds issued in 1999 are pinned to the Crown: as such a rise or fall of the Czech currency by 1 CZK against the Euro can result in savings of, or extra expenses of CZK 50 Million. While such fluctuations do not affect cash flow, they do have a marked impact upon financial results. In 2012, the exchange rate resulted in extra income of CZK 38 Million.
           
The other central factor influencing the finances of the PCC is debt. Servicing these debts amounts to an average of 40% of the company’s gross turnover each year. In 2012, for example, the company paid CZK 90 Million in interest, plus another CZK 90 Million towards settling obligations.          
For these reasons the company takes into account the financial results minus those obligations and pays particular attention to cash flow. Minus those obligations, in 2012 the PCC recorded an income of CZK 41 Million. Following payment of all obligations to Komerční banka (CZK 97 Million), the company still had surplus funds of over CZK 37 Million. With the exception of 2009, when the CPP was the central venue for events held in conjunction with the Czech Presidency of the EU, 2012 was financially the most successful of the last 6 years.          

What next?

As of 31.12.12 the PCC has repaid more than CZK 2.5 Billion on its bonds mostly from its own funds, not from the state budget as agreed when the bonds were issued. Because of the debts the PCC is not able to invest even in new speaker systems and thus the company’s internal debt has risen to over CZK 500 Million. The PCC has presented a number of proposals to the shareholder and creditors for resolving the situation. In 2009 and 2011, two tenders were issued for the sale of company property not required for its core activities, but neither produced satisfactory results.
      
Given the fact that by April 2014 the main portion of debt must be honoured with the remainder due by the end of that year, in mid-2012 the owner ordered a study with the aim of finding a solution for the PCC debt and for the future development of the company. As a result of the study, a provisional agreement was reached between the PCC’s sole owner, the City of Prague, and the PCC’s perspective main creditor, the Czech Ministry of Finance, under which the Finance Ministry would acquire a 70% stake in the company on behalf of the Czech state. Thereafter, the City of Prague would gradually increase the company’s registered capital by between CZK 600 Million and CZK 800 Million, to be used to settle the PCC’s internal debt, investing in new technology and other equipment and interior décor. As a result the City of Prague would get back around 45% of ownership in the PCC. The Prague City Assembly approved this financial restructuring plan on February 28th,, 2013.
                
Following two postponements, on April 24th, 2013, the government reviewed the proposal but did not reach a decision. Further discussion of the plan was postponed for a further two months with the Prime Minister declaring “it’s highly unlikely that a government majority would support the state acquiring a shareholding in the PCC.”  

Further postponement could have dire consequences. If the government opts to take no action, it would present not only a serious problem to the PCC and its sole owner, the City of Prague, but also to the state. As guarantor of the PCC bond emission, next year the Ministry of Finance would have to put up EUR 55 Million and also honour interest obligations. Such a scenario would result in the state incurring obligations of up to around CZK 1.65 Billion, without essential restructuring of the company and guarantees for its further functioning (amortization of its internal debt).         
 
Of course the state could take action to retrieve the debt from the PCC, but according to recent assessments, such a process could be highly problematic, not to mention the loss of around CZK 360 Million in tax revenues that events at the PCC generate annually. 
    
How do other companies operating in the congress sector view such a prospect? According to all reports, the PCC is simply irreplaceable as a venue for hosting 1,500 and more delegates, not only for Prague but for the whole Czech Republic. If international conferences and congresses can no longer be held in the PCC, it would result in Prague being wiped from the “conference map” of Europe.        

2012-08-14 - International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Statistics Report for 2011

International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Statistics Report for 2011


For the purposes of compiling statistics, the ICCA takes into account only events and meetings with at least 50 participants, which take place on a regular basis, and which are held in at least three countries on a rotation basis.
Number of events
  • Number of events by country - Czech Republic placed 31st in the world, and 19th in Europe with a total of 122 events.
  • Number of events by city – Prague placed 14th in the world, and 11th in Europe (together with Copenhagen) with 98 events.
                                 80% of all events in the Czech Rep. were held in Prague
Participant numbers
Number of participants by country – Czech Rep. placed 24th in the world with 82,207 participants
Number of participants by city – Prague placed 16th with 44,935 participants, a year-on-year rise of 28% (in 2010 Prague placed 20th with 31,874 participants)
 
PCC
• 30,550 delegates attended events held at the Prague Congress Centre  
• While 15% of events in Prague registered in ICCA statistics were held in the PCC, those events accounted for 69% of all delegates attending events in the Czech capital in 2011.
 
Wider financial benefits of congresses held in the PCC calculated on the basis of ICCA statistics.  

Spending per delegate: (according to ICCA statistics, the average stay per delegate is 3.78 days). According to the Prague Convention Bureau, delegates spend an average of CZK 8,000 per day meaning the PCC generated almost CZK 1 Billion (CZK 923,832,200) in 2011. The Benefits of Tourism study by KPMG indicates that almost CZK 0.4 billion (CZK 377 Million) of that amount went to the state in taxation.         

According to ICCA statistics, the average delegate spends USD 726.3 per day, of which USD 159.9 is spent on registration fees: on the basis of these figures, in 2011 the PCC generated CZK 1.35 Billion (not including registration fees).    
 
Number of events according to ICCA statistics
 
Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
PRAGUE – total number of events recorded in ICCA statistics
  106 103 100 96 85 98
PCC  – total number of events recorded in ICCA statistics
  20 9 12 10 8 15
PCC - – total number of events held
Number of events 362 378 336 341 299 262
PCC – turnover from rent of spaces for events (in CZK
ICCA   29 993 018 39 130 856 33 262 333 37 135 487 55 429 039
Total   88 881 000 116 454 000 179 105 000 72 287 000 106 594 000
 
 

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