Belgian organiser in venue takeover deal

Belgian organiser Artexis Group has bought Antwerp venue Bouwcentrum.

Artexis will now run the events previously organised by the venue's former owner Bouwen & Wonen. These include construction show Bouw & Prefab and decoration exhibition Je Huis een Thuis. Bouwen & Wonen will retain responsibility for the venue management.

Artexis managing director Eric Everard said: "We were interested in acquiring the shows but then we recognised that the site itself was a nice business.

There is a demand for more trade shows in Antwerp and the venue has great potential."

Bouwen & Wonen managing director Ingrid Ganssens will retire next year and will be replaced by Etienne Verhaert, who has been taken on by Artexis as assistant director. Verhaert previously worked for organiser Fedagrim, where he ran Brussels agriculture exhibition Agribex. The rest of the Bouwcentrum staff have been retained by Artexis.

Everard says industry reaction to the acquisition has been positive.

"We have a reputation in Belgium as a straightforward, ethical group and we said we would continue to respect the independence of private organisers. We have shown hall owners that this kind of move is possible."

Bouwcentrum hosts more than 40 shows a year. Its facilities include four exhibition halls and a seminar and conference centre, as well as office space and a number of restaurants.

Artexis has been organising exhibitions for more than two decades. Its 40-strong workforce runs more than 20 shows.

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