Global event organiser and venue management company GL events has reported annual revenue at 31 December 2021 of €741.2m, up 54.6% year-on-year. Q4 2021 sales amounted to €303.4m, nearly tripling in relation to Q4 2020 and almost back up to the level of 2019.
This performance, against the backdrop of a continuing complex health situation, highlighted a strong recovery, noted Olivier Ginon, chairman-CEO of GL events.
“After a long period adversely impacted by bans that prevented our event venues from opening and restrictions on gatherings in France and in many other countries, the second half of the year marked a turning point with the introduction of the health pass in France and the easing of restrictions on our businesses,” Ginon said. “As a result, revenue in 2021 Q3 and Q4 had recovered to levels close to that 2019, illustrating the resilience of our business and confirming the importance of face-to-face meetings and interactions for the public, exhibitors and visitors.”
In terms of the Group’s various divisions’ performances, the GL EVENTS EXHIBITIONS division reported annual revenue of €144.5m, up 48.3% (€68m in 2020). In Q4, revenue was €39.5m, up from €8.5m in Q4 2020, benefiting from easing administrative restrictions in the last quarter of 2021.
GL events held numerous trade fairs and exhibitions in France organised under strict health protocols, including Be Positive and Prod & Pack in Lyon, Sepem in Angers, Amenago in Lille, SVG in Brest and Hyvolution in Paris. In China, Fashion Source Autumn brought together around 720 exhibitors and more than 16,700 attendees over a gross surface area of 80,000sqm. In South America, GL events organised Expomin in Santiago de Chile, the Biennial International Book Fair, and the World Beer Fest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The company’s level of business was solid, particularly when the slow recovery of its business in Brazil, where activity was limited to €15m in 2021 compared to €70m in 2019, is taken into account.
GL EVENTS LIVE had annual revenue of €430.4m, up 39.2%, with Q4 revenue rising to €176.4m (up €92m from Q4 2020), boosted by a number of events, particularly in international markets.
In China, GL events contributed to several exhibitions including the Zibo Pavilion government, Shenzhen International Electronic Cigarette Industry Expo (IECIE 2021) and the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
In the Middle East, revenue was driven by contributions from the Arab Cup in Qatar and also business momentum in Dubai with the DP World Tour Championship Golf, the International Fashion Week Show and the Universal Expo 2021. The Group also delivered services for COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland.
In Turkey, the Group organised numerous hybrid medical congresses.
GL EVENTS VENUES division reported annual revenue of €166.3m in 2021, up 62.8% from one year earlier, with quarterly revenue rising to €87.4m (up from €19.1m in Q4 2020). The division hosted events such as Pollutec in Lyon, The Toulouse Automobile Show, the Contemporary Art Fair in Strasbourg and the McKinsey European Convention at the Palais Brongniart in Paris. In Italy, the International Book Fair was held at the Lingotto. In Hungary, Hungexpo continued to display positive business momentum by hosting a variety of events including the Solutrans Sustainability Exhibition and the European Dog Show 2021.
In November 2021 the Group’s Safe & Clean label issued by APAVE was renewed for all its establishments and activities in France and abroad (excluding China).
Throughout the year, GL events said it continued to preserved its cash position, maintaining vigilance over its cost structure and taking advantage of government Covid-relief measures, including most recently aid providing coverage for fixed costs (‘Aide fermeture’) for up to 70% of negative EBITDA. The Group expects to receive €25m in aid under this latter measure. As a reminder, a negative EBITDA of approximately €200m was recorded over the period subject to restrictions.
At 31 December 2021, the Group reported a strong cash position (€620m) and is meeting all its commitments (operating investments, debt servicing payments, service providers, etc.).
On 31 December 2021, the Group also acquired 100% of the capital of Créatifs, an exhibition stand contractor and significant contributor to the Paris Air Show. For 2020, the Créatifs Group is expected to contribute nearly €25m to Group revenue.
GL events concluded in its financial statement noting that demand for the Group’s event offering is regaining momentum as the health situation improves and restrictions are eased. Based on the level of business achieved in 2021, GL events maintained its annual guidance for Net Income attributable to Owners of the Company of more than €10m compared to a Net Loss of €74m in 2020.