Deutsche Messe Returns to Profit in 2007

Provisional figures indicate that the 2007 business performance of Deutsche Messe AG will be notably better than expected. The trade fair organizing company is posting profits of more than €1 million, a far cry from the €5.7-million net loss forecast for 2007.

“We have had an extremely busy and successful year,” says Sepp D. Heckmann, chairman of Deutsche Messe in Hannover. “As a result of strong growth across our portfolio of events and numerous improvements in our internal business processes, earnings and profits were much better than had been expected at the start of the year.”

Deutsche Messe provisionally increased its turnover by 21% in 2007, to €283 million. Following a net loss of €8.7 million in 2006, a seven-digit profit in 2007 is quite a turnaround. In addition, the company reduced its borrowing last year from €155 million to €130 million, and thus has halved its debt since 2001. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) rose by 20% year on year to €43 million.

Stephan Ph. Kühne, a member of the Deutsche Messe board, credits a series of cost-cutting measures and a highly motivated team with improving the company’s operations. “2007 has seen substantial further progress towards consolidation,” he notes, saying that the company must now exploit that potential in coming years in order to build on its strong competitive position.

During 2007, Deutsche Messe staged 110 trade fairs worldwide, including 54 events in other countries and 42 hosted events. The total number of exhibitors taking part in the company’s events rose by some 2,000 over 2006, while visitor numbers increased from 1.8 million to 2 million. Cumulative net Display area grew by 15%.

“Profitability was boosted by significant growth both in our own trade fairs and in the events that we hosted,” explains Heckmann, pointing out that CeBIT recorded a 10% increase in visitor numbers and that Hannover Messe drew more people than it had in five years. A good showing by the hosted events EMO and Agritechnica ended the year on a high note. “This is testimony to the outstanding quality of our facilities and the calibre of our team, which are widely praised by our customers,” says Heckmann.

“We shall continue to move ahead with consolidation during the coming year,” adds Heckmann. Plans call for continuing the development of Deutsche Messe’s international business, expanding the company’s on-line presence, and extending its conference business. To help achieve this last objective, Deutsche Messe is teaming with Landesmesse Stuttgart and a professional congress organizer to establish a joint enterprise.

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