Cobo $2.4 million in the black for fiscal 2012

Posted on December 3, 2012

Cobo Center finished its 2012 fiscal year, ending Sept. 30, $2.4 million in the black after originally planning for a $500,000 loss, the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority announced Thursday.

The biggest savings came in utility expenses, which were $1.7 million under budget – largely a result of new energy-efficient installations.

“Energy-saving capital improvements, real-time monitoring of electricity and steam usage, the mild winter and the closing of Cobo Arena were the main reasons for the lower utility expenses,” said Patrick Bero, CEO of the regional authority that has operated Cobo since 2009, in a statement.

Total operating revenue for the 2012 fiscal year ending Sept. 30 was $21.3 million, which beat the forecast by $439,000. Net operating income was $2.4 million, building upon net operating income of $2.02 million for the first six months of the fiscal year.

The year before, total operating revenue was $20.3 million – including the state subsidy of $11 million. This year’s state subsidy was $9 million.

Events for groups new to Cobo also helped it raise its operating revenue, with groups such as the National Baptist Congress, the National Veterans Small Business Conference and Expo, the American Federation of Teachers‘ convention and the Acrobatic Gymnastics National Championships.

Corporate bookings also picked up, with events hosted this year for companies like as Novo Nordisk A/S,BASF Corp., and ViSalus Inc.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson called the net income a success.

“The DRCFA [Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority] is a model for other regional authorities,” Patterson said in a news release. “We fought hard and held out for the authority’s current structure which protects taxpayers in each county including Oakland.”

Cobo is controlled by the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority under a 2009 collaborative agreement between the city of Detroit; Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties; and the Michigan Legislature.

Ryan Kelly, Crain’s Detroit