UBM upbeat despite first half drop in profits

International trade show organiser UBM is remaining bullish about its  outlook, despite cancelling  37 events and delivering a first-half pre-tax profit fall of 37.2%.

UBM has posted a pre-tax profit of £47.6m (US$74.1m), down from £75.8m in 2014, for the six months to 30 June 2015.

The company reported its first-half revenue increased 26.3% to £456m, up from £214.2m year-on-year, boosted by the acquisition of US-based event and marketing service Advanstar and favourable exchange rates.

On an underlying basis, adjusted for rationalisation and phasing, overall revenue grew 0.6%, while events revenue was up 3.3%.

Chief executive Tim Cobbold told investors he was pleased with the company’s first-half performance.

“Forward indicators for the second half events, including MAGIC, those in China and our large biennials, are good,” Cobbold said. “The board is confident in the outlook for the year.”

Cobbold said UBM had made good progress rationalising its event portfolio and making targeted acquisitions as part of its Events First strategy.

The company revealed it had discontinued 37 events, which generated first half revenue of £11.6m in 2014. It also sold two events that earned £6.2m during the same period.

Investors could expect more closures over the next two years as UBM continued to review its events portfolio against a standard set of performance criteria, Cobbold said.

The organiser cancelled its May Design Series trade fair in London, US-based wireless technology show 4G World as well as medical device exhibitions and conferences Medtec in the UK, France and Italy.

In the UK, the business reported a significant decline in its interiors portfolio, which contributed to a 12.1% fall in underlying growth for events.

Within the events portfolio, emerging markets delivered the strongest underlying growth, despite slipping 1.6% to 10.3%. The drop was attributed to phasing and rationalisation, which included the shift of Sign China to the second half of 2015.

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