The financial results revealed profit from events were up 44.6% compared to 2010 and represented 62.5% of the group’s total profit, excluding corporate costs.
UBM has also acquired four trade shows, three of which are in emerging markets. These are Malaysian International Furniture Fair, DenTech China, Renewable Energy India Expo and Airport Cities Exhibition & Conference.
The figures revealed UBM invested £71.2m in eight acquisitions last year, including Ecobuild, which will take place at Excel London in March.
Bob Gray, chief financial officer of UBM, said events were the group's fastest-growing sector last year: "Our events have been growing very nicely. Most of our capital has been cycled into events and we would expect them to continue to grow as a proportion of the group."
David Levin, chief executive of UBM, confirmed the company would increase its focus on events: "The outlook is pretty set on events. [The acquisitions] reflect what we have been doing over the last few years. Events in 2004 contributed about £40million to UBM and last year they contributed £135million. It’s a fantastic approach that the teams have adopted and we think this is something which is structurally attractive. That is based on picking the right sectors."
UBM’s operating profits from emerging markets were up 33.4% to £65.6m representing 30.4% of total profit. Levin told Event fast-growing markets would be a continued focus for the group. "We make greater revenue in our businesses in China than we do in Europe," he said. "Because we have an international network of shows, we’ve been able to take them around the world. Take something like IFSEC, which was based at the NEC in Birmingham. We took that to Mumbai in India about four years ago. Last year we took it to Bangalore in south India and at the same time we ran an edition in Lagos."
"We’ll look for more acquisitions, yes, but also more geo-adaptation. I think that’s one of the things that we are distinctive in. You can’t just clone a product from one place to another: you need to make it fit and work in the local environment."
Levin added: "We’re very focused in geographic terms on faster economies, but we like the sectors that we are already in emerged markets. We bought Ecobuild in the UK because we already had a footprint in the built environment - we were just looking for what parts of that sector were growing fastest."
Levin told Event that Experiential activity will be used to complement exhibitions through UBM’s internal initiative Global Event Momentum (GEM) which was set up 18 months ago. "GEM is looking at how to make the full array of experiences outstanding," said Levin. "From making sure we deliver ROI to attendees and exhibitors right thorough to more experiential domains. It’s not about fluff; it’s about delivering value. We’re very excited about what GEM’s going to do to our business in the coming years."
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