Clarion finalises Centre buy

Clarion Events has completed its acquisition of the Birmingham NEC's in-house organising arm Centre Exhibitions.

As exclusively revealed by Event in April, Clarion Events NEC now owns a two-thirds majority share in a joint venture under which it has added ten Birmingham-based shows, including Antiques for Everyone and The Classic Motor Show, to its stable.

The purchase, for an undisclosed amount, is one of two major acquisitions following Clarion's £45m management buy-out from Earls Court & Olympia Group late last year.

Clarion is also on the verge of acquiring a host of UK and international events owned by the British Amusement Catering Trade Association (BACTA), including gaming and casino exhibitions ATEI and ICE, which take place at Earls Court from 24-26 January.

"We are looking to balance our portfolio with more trade events as it's often easier to launch into consumer markets," Clarion Events managing director Simon Kimble said. "For 2006 we aim to launch 10 shows across Birmingham, London and Scotland, which will be a mix of consumer and trade.

"With the organising fraternity mostly based in London, we felt there wasn't anyone focusing on the opportunities in the Midlands. We're therefore delighted to be joining forces with the team at Centre and will also be working to further develop the Centre catalogue of events."

The organiser has also announced its acquisition of four other exhibitions.

Trade Fairs Scotland has sold its International Trade Fair, International Food Fair and Autumn Fair for an undisclosed amount. Clarion has also added Mela 2005, The Mega Asian Experience to its portfolio, which will take place at the NEC from 18-20 November.

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