IEG Group revenues on the rise again as Italian market responds to reopening

Italian Exhibition Group (IEG)’s Board of Directors has approved its interim report on operations, as at September 30, 2021, and the calendar of corporate events for 2022 as business returns following reopening in the summer.

The Group reported third quarter results that it said "exceeded expectations", with total revenues for the first nine months at €42.5m (-37.7% compared to the same period of the previous year, when the major exhibitions in January and February were held).

Revenues for Q3 2021 stood at €35.5m which, even net of contributions received (€10.m), show a solidly positive performance compared to the same period of 2020.

EBITDA in Q3 at €11.6m which, adjusted for contributions received and other nonrecurring items, remains positive at €1.3m  (-€6.6m in in 2020).

The Group net result at -€19.m, was down €19.8m compared to the same period in 2020. And the Group reports ending the third quarter with a profit of €7.3m compared to a loss of €14m in the same period last year.

With the end of the bans imposed by the Italian Government on the Group’s core business (15 June for exhibition activities and 1 July for congresses and events), all the events that normally populate the calendar in the summer and autumn months took place, as well as some events from the first half of the year, such as Enada, Rimini Wellness, TGold (held at the same time as Vicenza Oro September) and the hosted events Expodental and Macfrut, were repositioned.

“The market proved to be highly responsive to the reopenings, demonstrating once again the importance and centrality of the trade fair as an instrument in companies' promotion and marketing strategies,” the IEG statement said.

The Group also reported on financial results of its MICE events business held at Rimini Convention Centre, the Rimini Exhibition Centre and the Vicenza Convention Centre (VICC). In the third quarter of 2021, these ‘locations’ developed €3m in revenue, an improvement of €1.9m compared to the same period of the previous year.

IEG's Related Services business posted revenues of €8.m, a sharp increase (+€6.1m) compared to the same period last year and not too far from the €10m in the third quarter of 2019.

With regard to the measures to ensure financial stability, the actions implemented in relation to the management of working capital and the maximisation of available funds continue, the Group said. IEG obtained €10m (of which approximately €525,000 is non returnable) in new financing from SIMEST; and the subsidiaries Pro.stand and Summertrade obtained new financing of € 4m. The Group has a stock of liquidity and credit lines granted and not used of at least €53m. Consolidated shareholders' equity at 30 September 2021 amounted to approximately €74.m, down from €93m at 31 December 2020.

October, however, confirmed the signs of confidence shown by operators in the trade fair sector. The organised events TTG - Travel Experience (held at the same time as Sia - Hospitality Design, Sun - Beach&Outdoor Style and Superfaces, at its first edition) and Ecomondo, held at the same time as Key Energy, achieved very positive results, according to IEG and, in the case of Ecomondo, it reached results very close to pre-pandemic levels.

Dubai Active Industry, Dubai Active and Dubai Muscle Show, the largest fitness event in the Middle East, organised by subsidiary HBG Events at the Dubai World Trade Centre, 28-30 October, provided “excellent results in terms of both exhibitor and visitor attendance, a success also confirmed by the number of contracts for the 2022 edition already signed through the re-booking campaign conducted at the show”, said IEG.

On 5 November the Ministry of Tourism communicated the ‘Theoretical’ amounts (still subject to verification) of contributions due for the year 2020 only and IEG said it expected to receive €4,765,576.79; with Prostand Srl set to receive €2,936,985.64.

The Group said it was still waiting to know the level of contributions that will be recognised to cover the 2021 losses.

The Group reports continuing its researching possible M&A activity in the exhibition sector, both on the domestic market and abroad. It acknowledges that uncertainties and difficulties remain, with strong restrictions on international travel and an upward curve of infections.

“The good level of bookings by clients for spaces at events in the first quarter of 2022 is the most eloquent sign of the confidence that the market places in our sector,” IEG added.