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Messe Frankfurt lost £400m of sales during pandemic

by Emily Wallin

Messe Frankfurt lost  £87m (€103m) of business during 2021, but expects trade to return to normal this year.
One of the world’s leading trade fair, congress and event organisers, Messe Frankfurt lost a total of almost £400m in sales (€582m)over the course of the pandemic.
Sales in 2020 were approximately £217m and in 2019 £623 million, they said. Sales for 2021 were just £154m.
However they hope to see the events business return to normal this year with sales reaching £338m (€400m)

In a statement Messe Frankfurt said: “Since April, we have been able to hold events without any
restrictions whatsoever.
“Messe Frankfurt has had to contend with the challenges of the pandemic over financial years 2020 and 2021. Due to the cancelled spring events, sales in financial year 2021 (around €154 million) were even lower than in financial year 2020 (2020: approx. €257 million; 2019: approx. €736 million).
“In spite of the difficult economic situation in financial years 2020 and 2021 owing to the pandemic, the company continued to invest and took important strategic decisions for its future. In addition to digitalisation, Messe Frankfurt is working to make its business practices even more sustainable.”

President and chief executive officer Wolfgang Marzin told a press conference he was “optimistic”.
He said: “The high level of interest in events held under the Messe Frankfurt umbrella, both in Germany and internationally, permits us to look to the future with confidence and optimism. If everything goes according to plan, if we are free to organise trade fairs – and, in turn, if the event business continues to return to normal – we expect sales for the current financial year to be more
than €400 million.”
“By taking extensive measures – with the active support of our shareholders – we succeeded in providing the group with sufficient liquidity.”

Messe Frankfurt said their predictions would see them fully financed until the end of 2023.
Marzin said sustainability was a central pillar of its corporate strategy.
He said: “Messe Frankfurt pursues an integral sustainability approach in our responsibility towards
the environment and as a socially responsible company with sustainable business
practices.”

The group has been a member of UN Global Compact initiative for sustainable corporate management since 2010, and has set up its own sustainability board.

Marzin explained: “We have defined areas of activity and formalised them in a Messe Frankfurt Sustainability Governance Code. The Code is based on the specifications of the UN Global Compact and on the accepted general standards with regard to sustainability and climate protection.
“Our company aims to generate profits in a socially and environmentally compatible way so that future generations will be able to engage in responsible business development as well.”

As part of its streamlining measures, some events have been strategically restructured, they said.

Member of the executive board of Messe Frankfurt, Detlef Braun, said: “Messe Frankfurt believes that it is far better to be active than passive. Our core brands are assets with which we generate growth. Every now and then, we also need to undertake some ‘hygiene measures’ to keep our events healthy.”

The company said they had parted company “with subject areas that have no future in the sector and on the market” such as Musikmesse recently. From February 2023, consumer goods fairs at the Frankfurt base, including Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld will be co-located.

Investment in the venue has continued throughout the pandemic with new developments set to open next year.

Uwe Behm, member of the executive board of Messe Frankfurt, said: “Frankfurt will be a showcase for sustainable and alternative mobility solutions for the future. Due to the great demand, the exhibition area around Hall 9.1 was expanded so that we have around 150,000 sqm of total exhibition space at our disposal.
“We are investing in our diverse locations, in a wide service portfolio and in sustainability – this has long been a constant necessity rather than an optional extra. Thanks to its flexible infrastructure, the Frankfurt exhibition grounds can
accommodate several different events at the same time.”

Construction work on Hall 5 will be completed earlier than planned and the hall will be going into operation for the first time in early February 2023 with the spring trade fairs.

 

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