Koelnmesse's Business Results for 2014:
Good Results Between Two Record Years
Koelnmesse's business results for 2014 were much better than planned. At the company's annual press conference, the Executive Board announced to the media that turnover totaled 231.2 million, or about 8 million more than was forecast at the beginning of the year.
The company's annual net loss of 3.3 million was even 16 million better than expected. "In spite of the net loss, 2014 was an outstanding business year," says Gerald Böse, President and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse. "We have achieved a turnaround, we have grown in Germany and abroad, and we have formulated clear goals and perspectives for the future."
President and Chief Executive Officer
This assessment is shared by the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Mayor Jürgen Roters. "Koelnmesse has realigned its operations to make itself sustainably profitable. We can look forward to the future with pleasant anticipation," he says. This year, Koelnmesse expects to once again set new records in its company history and generate more than 300 million in turnover. Provided that economic development remains stable, Koelnmesse expects to post a cumulative profit of almost 60 million over the next five years. The company plans to reinvest the entire amount in its own development.
In 2014 a total of 81 trade fairs and exhibitions attracted more than 34,000 companies from 96 countries as well as over 2.1 million visitors from 198 countries. Koelnmesse held 23 of its own events and 26 guest events in Cologne as well as 32 trade fairs outside of Germany.
The great improvement in Koelnmesse's results was largely due to the good development of several of the leading trade fairs in the company's program. According to the trade fair industry's umbrella organization, AUMA, the total number of trade fair visitors and exhibitors in Germany rose by one percent each in 2014 and the total size of the total stand area remained constant. By contrast, the figures for the Cologne trade fair program increased by an average of six percent compared to the respective previous events, and the cumulative result for the last four years rose by more than 30 percent.
This applies to trade fairs for future-oriented digital topics such as dmexco and gamescom, to traditional events such as imm cologne, ORGATEC, EISENWARENMESSE - International Hardware Fair Cologne, ISM, and ART COLOGNE, and to trade fairs such as h+h cologne and Kind + Jugend.
The events and guest events served by the subsidiary Koelnmesse Ausstellungen GmbH contributed considerably to the Koelnmesse consolidated companies' business success. The 26 guest events held in 2014 were attended by almost 7,600 exhibitors and around 390,000 visitors. They generated 15.6 million in turnover last year as well as a 6.6 million surplus before the profit transfer. "Many of the organizers of guest events appreciate the unique advantages of our city trade fair at the heart of Europe," says Gerald Böse about the increasing importance of this field of business.
Among the various business activities outside Germany, the events held in China, India, other Asian countries, and the Arab region developed well. This group was recently joined by Turkey with ANUFOOD Eurasia and by the South American market. In 2014 Koelnmesse established a new subsidiary in Brazil, where it organizes ANUTEC - INTERNATIONAL FOODTEC BRAZIL and UrbanTec Brasil. Colombia is also a very interesting future market for Koelnmesse on account of its economic potential and its geographic location in Central America. The partnership that Koelnmesse concluded in October with the Colombian trade fair company Corferias in Bogotá continues to bear fruit. The two companies are jointly organizing the packaging technology trade fair Andina-Pack and Alimentec, the spangest food fair in the Andes region. "Through these activities we are strategically expanding our involvement in the Latin American market in the food segment, which is one of our core areas of expertise," says Koelnmesse CEO Böse, who is focusing not only on the enhancement of the flagship trade fairs in Cologne, but also on the further expansion of the company's business activities abroad.
Koelnmesse took several important steps in 2014. With the unanimous consent of the shareholders, the company launched its Koelnmesse 3.0 investment program so that it can remain one of the top trade fair locations in the future, according to Mayor Roters. Koelnmesse 3.0 is a three-stage project that will focus on modernizing the Southern Halls, improving the traffic and parking situation, making the halls more attractive, and improving the transportation routes. The project, which will run until 2030, also involves the construction of the new Hall 1plus, which will offer 10,000 square meters of additional exhibition space to offset the temporary construction activities. Additional measures include the construction of the CONFEX® Hall for new formats that combine conferences with exhibitions and the creation of a new entry terminal for the Southern Halls that will also serve as a functional and appealing east-west boulevard. The Supervisory Board has already approved an investment volume of over ¤200 million for the first phase of the project, which will run until 2020.
Böse emphasizes that Koelnmesse will do all of this work completely without subsidies. He pointed out that Koelnmesse is "a member of the small and exclusive group of German trade fair companies that can be profitable in the long run, in terms of their operations as well as their investments, without any financial support from their shareholders."
The preconditions have been met: Koelnmesse can invest its own capital in addition to the necessary external funding. Koelnmesse has paid off almost all of its old debts. In 2014 its equity amounted to 106.8 million and its equity ratio was a respectable 42.1 percent. The company's liquidity is extremely good, partly because of a positive cash flow from its ongoing business operations.
The implementation of Koelnmesse 3.0 includes maintenance work that has already begun. Koelnmesse has announced an architects' competition for the planned new buildings, and the company has begun the planning process for the construction of the parking garage. The parking garage, which will have about 1,700 parking spaces, is the first construction project that Koelnmesse plans to finish, namely by mid-2017. The new parking garage will ensure that even during major trade fairs the adjacent neighborhoods on the east bank of the Rhine will not be unduly burdened by the additional car and truck traffic. Hall 1plus will be available starting in mid-2018. The CONFEX® Hall is expected to be ready for use in 2021, and according to the current state of planning the Terminal will be finished in 2024.
Images: R. Eberhard, messekompakt.com, EBERHARD print & medien agentur gmbh