Global Recession Knocks U.K.’s Expomedia Group into Bankruptcy

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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London, U.K. – Bankruptcy administrators were appointed to run the affairs of Britain’s Expomedia Group Plc on January 16 as the world economic downturn torpedoed the company’s earlier optimistic expectations.

Expomedia Group is the holding company for show organizers Expomedia Events UK Ltd. and Homebuyer Events Ltd.  The company said its fortunes were undone by a significant downturn in attendance and increase in cancellations at its various European events beginning last Fall.

“On November 10, 2008 the company announced that it had seen a significant reduction in its revenues,” Expomedia announced. “Since the announcement, the Board has vigorously explored options to address the company’s working capital requirement.”

The company said efforts to secure new funding had been in vain and that the board had no choice but to appoint two joint administrators licensed by Britain’s Insolvency Practitioner’s Association.

Reversal Happened Quickly

The developments were a significant reversal of the expectations Expomedia held earlier in the Fall when it reported upbeat financial results for the first half of 2008 and predicted that business would continue to be brisk in its Russian, Polish and Indian markets.

When the results were released on September 22, Chief Executive Mark Shashoua said, “The outlook for the rest of the year is positive and we look forward to continued growth.”

By November, however, the situation had been thrown into reverse as the 19% increase in forward bookings for 2008 reported September 22 turned into an announcement on November 12 that there had been a “significant reduction in bookings and a high level of cancellations across the Group’s events as a result of the current weak economic climate spreading across the world.”

“As a result,” the company said, “the Board anticipates that the results for the year ending December 31, 2008 will be significantly below current market expectations.”

One Surviving Show

Expomedia Events serves as the trade show production unit of Expomedia and has offices and operations in Britain, Russia, India, Germany and Poland. The shows serve a variety of industry sectors, including packaging, hospitality and construction. The company’s events calendars listed three events for 2009, including two co-located interiors shows in New Delhi on February 13-15. A spokesperson told Trade Show Executive that the only event that would take place was The Surface Design Show 2009 on February 10-12 at Business Design Centre Islington in London.

Reach Mark Shashoua at +44 020 8386 0070 or mark.shoushoua@expomediagroup.com