UBM has said that a “foreign exchange headwind” and the later running of shows in the year helped contribute to lower event revenues in the opening quarter of 2014.
In unaudited results for the three months, which ended 31 March 2014, events revenue in 2014 was £93.3m, a 13.2 per cent drop from the 2013 figure of £107.5m.
UBM also said that robust growth from its US shows, led by Game Developer Conference and MD&M West, and very strong performances in emerging market shows, particularly Sign China and Turkey Jewellery, more than offset the expected decline in the UK, notably at Ecobuild (pictured).
The adjusted operating profit was £24.3m (Q1 2013: £30.1m), reflecting the adverse phasing impact and the decline in revenues in UK shows, as well as continued investment in geographic and brand expansion, improved visitor experience and health and safety initiatives.
The statement added that reported revenue decline also reflects foreign exchange headwind and adverse phasing.
However the global organiser and media outlet reported that forward bookings for its 2013 Top 20 events running in the next 12 months were £136.7m, up 22.2 per cent compared to their level a year ago.
“UBM’s results for the first quarter were in line with our expectations. First quarter revenue reflects adverse currency movements, the phasing impact of events that ran in Q1 2013 running later in the year and restructured marketing services,” said UBM chief financial officer Robert Gray.
“Events forward bookings remain robust and we expect good growth in the emerging markets and large US shows running through the balance of 2014. We’re getting traction in our reshaped marketing services offering, resulting in improved profitability. PR Newswire has made a good start on delivery for the year and trends in the US are encouraging. Our guidance for 2014 is unchanged.”
In his parting message in February, ex-chief executive officer David Levin said UBM can be confident for the future.
Meanwhile, the lease on UBM’s principal UK office space at 245 Blackfriars Road in London expires in March 2015. The firm said it will consolidate its London-based workforce of approximately 700 people into new premises. The expected fit-out and relocation costs will cost approximately £17m (net of the landlord’s contribution) over the course of 2014.
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