Clarion Events has expanded its footprint in the energy and utilities market by acquiring African-focused conference and events player, EnergyNet.
Clarion conference chief executive Russell Wilcox told EN it became aware of EnergyNet following its purchase of African conference and exhibition player Spintelligent in 2009.
EnergyNet aims to assist economic development in emerging and developing economies across Africa by promoting energy services and investment. The 10-year-old company brings government officials and private sector executives together through several events including its flagship Africa Energy Forum, held annually in Europe.
The company also runs Energy Access Africa and several executive meetings. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed. The deal was brokered by Mayfield Media.
Although there is some crossover in products and focus, Wilcox said Spintelligent and EnergyNet can work as complementary brands within the global Clarion portfolio. He pointed out Spintelligent’s events are held in Africa, while EnergyNet’s forums are attended by pan-European and global investors and focus more on professional services and financial issues.
Clarion will retain the EnergyNet and individual event brands but plans to develop the African Energy Forum by developing exhibition opportunities alongside it. The business will be managed within the Spintelligent portfolio in order to ensure Clarion has a coordinated approach to the African market between the two companies, Wilcox said.
“With EnergyNet, we can bring our exhibition expertise and best practices to the African Energy Forum and make it more of a confex event by increasing the buyer/vendor marketplace within the event,” he said.
As part of the deal, EnergyNet’s owner and MD Rod Cargill will join Clarion as a non-executive director.
“EnergyNet fits our general acquisition objectives in that it is a small owner-operated business that we can inject resources into,” Wilcox continued. “The company has a good relationship with the market place, a good community to tap into and brand awareness, but needs capital and sales and marketing investment in order to grow. Integration is not so much a matter of integrating staff as it is integrating the products into our existing African business.”
Wilcox also spied an opportunity to either take the African Energy Forum model to other emerging markets within Latin America or Asia, or run a spin-off event in Asia to attract investment dollars from that region into the African energy market. No firm plans have yet been set.
“We are committed to the African market and see it as an important source of growth for us,” Wilcox added. “EnergyNet is a good fit given its importance within the energy and utilities market, a key focus for us.”
Got a news story for Exhibition News? Email the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org