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UBM makes headway despite revenue dip

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Tim Cobbold Global organiser UBM again attributed a drop in revenue to a “strong currency headwind” in its 2014 half-year results.

In a summary of results for the six months ending 30 June 2014, the company said that revenue fell to £361m from £391.8m, but argued that, on a constant currency basis, revenue was up 0.3 per cent. Underlying growth in the events segment was put at 4.8 per cent.

UBM gave a similar currency explanation for its revenues back in March.

UBM’s adjusted operating profit was up 8.7 per cent to £87.4m.

Stand revenues, sponsorship and attendee revenues all decreased.

However net square metres of annual events increased to 797,000 from 775,000 over the last 12 months, while visitor numbers increased by 16 per cent to 1.5m.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cobbold (pictured) said: “UBM has had a solid first half and remains on track to meet expectations for the full year.

“Although the reported performance was adversely impacted by currency headwinds, the group performed well with good underlying revenue growth in both the Events and PR Newswire businesses and with higher operating margins in each of the three businesses.”

“During my first three months as UBM’s CEO I completed the first stage of my review of the business. We will host a Capital Markets Day late in the year to present the plan for UBM’s future development.”

UBM said it saw “very strong growth” from events in China and US events such as Game Developers Conference and Cruise Shipping.

However it noted construction-related shows, such as Ecobuild held at Excel, had struggled to deliver.

The statement said: “In the UK, growth in the second quarter, including a strong performance from IFSEC and modest growth from Interiors Birmingham, was not enough to offset the declines in shows which ran in the first quarter, notably Ecobuild and other events related to the Built Environment.”

Emerging markets accounted for 41.4 per cent of UBM’s annual events revenue in the first half. Underlying revenue growth in China was 15.3 per cent.

UBM invested £16.7m in the acquisition of two Mexican events businesses in the first half of 2014.

Meanwhile, work continues apace on consolidating UBM’s 700 London-based staff into new premises when the lease on its principal UK office space expires in March 2015. UBM anticipates total capital expenditure including relocation costs of approximately £18m - net of the landlord’s contribution - which will be depreciated over the term of the lease.

UBM plc also announced that Mary McDowell has joined the board as a non-executive director, and as a member of the Remuneration and Nomination Committees.
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