- 2022 trade fair calendar prompts expectations of sales leap to well above EUR 200 million
- Contribution to regional economy back to well above a billion euros
- More sustainable, more digital, more service-oriented – NürnbergMesse is getting fit for the future
In the third year of the extraordinary conditions provoked by the pandemic, NürnbergMesse is again taking a more optimistic view of the future. “We expect sales to leap to well above EUR 200 million, and our net loss to shrink substantially from the 2020 and 2021 pandemic years”, said NürnbergMesse Group Joint CEO Prof. Dr Roland Fleck. While two out of every three of last year’s trade fairs had to be cancelled or postponed, this year more than 80 percent of the scheduled events are expected to take place. “All in all, we expect to be able to hold 136 events around the world this year. Which shows impressively that the lights are back on again. People want to get together. We’ve also found that our digital and hybrid formats are being well received”, added NürnbergMesse Joint CEO Peter Ottmann.
Summing up for 2021: Systematic savings pay off
The NürnbergMesse Group’s results for 2021 reflect the impact of the second year of extraordinary conditions provoked by the pandemic. Following a 19-month forced suspension of operations and the autumn 2021 restart, the international exhibitions company was still able to hold 26 of the 77 trade fairs originally planned worldwide, closing out the fiscal year with sales of EUR 68.3 million (previous year: EUR 110.3 million). By putting on the brakes all down the line for both costs and investments, in tandem with an injection of state aid, the company reduced its net loss for the year to EUR 42 million (compared to the previous year’s EUR –68.6 million), and cut the operating loss roughly in half, from EUR –67.6 million in 2020 to EUR –38.5 million. And yet again, it did so with no staff redundancies. The Group had an average of 534 employees at the Nuremberg site in the first quarter, and 946 around the world (previous year: 535/897).
At the same time, NürnbergMesse is continuing to revise its business model. It is developing new hybrid and digital formats that will supplement in-person events and expand their reach further. “Our successful restart and our 2022 trade fair summer are proof that people want to come back to trade fairs. That’s why NürnbergMesse has set itself the goal of becoming even more sustainable, more service-oriented and more digital for its customers”, said Prof. Dr Fleck.
Exhibitors in Nuremberg will benefit from a new service concept that pools the capabilities of the company’s various Service Partners. And NürnbergMesse is also making itself fit for the future with a new sustainability strategy that defines ten areas for action and clear goals for every segment of the company. “Sustainability, alongside attractive trade fair concepts and a high-performance team, will become a key yardstick for future viability in the trade fair industry. So we’ve decided to move ahead systematically in this direction over the next few years”, Ottmann explained.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the company systematically put the brakes on costs and investments. It thus saved a total of EUR 90 million again in 2021 compared to pre-Covid plans, while significantly reining in losses. It reduced personnel expenses by EUR 10 million in 2021, and cut total investments by EUR 70 million, especially by postponing major capital expenditures on the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre and on the planned construction of NCC Süd.
New trade fairs and digital options in 2022
Exhibitors and visitors already got to enjoy meeting up again and experiencing the innovative products from NürnbergMesse and its subsidiaries in the first half of 2022. Among the newcomers to the schedule were the Catarina Aviation Show in São Paulo, which presented vendors of premium goods to an exclusive public, and the new “Focus on PCB” trade show in Vicenza, Italy, for the printed circuit board industry. Further new events will follow this coming autumn, with the CFOSE bicycle trade fair (Cycle, Fitness & Outdoor Sports Expo) in New Delhi, the hybrid C.HOC conference (Blockchain) in São Paulo, and Ospitiamo (the hotel industry) in Milan. On the other hand, a lockdown compelled NürnbergMesse China to postpone the debut of embedded world China until 2023. Because of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, NürnbergMesse has decided to cancel BrauBeviale 2022 in Moscow.
NürnbergMesse goes sustainable
At its financial press conference, NürnbergMesse also presented its first integrated annual report and sustainability report. Among the matters addressed in these documents were a total of ten areas for action and the associated sustainability goals. These efforts are aiming to put the entire venue on a climate-neutral energy supply by 2028. As part of the energy campaign, for instance, the company will cut the energy it consumes for lighting by more than 70 percent by switching its hall lighting entirely to LED lamps by the beginning of next year. The Exhibition Centre now has 38 electric vehicle charging stations for customers. NürnbergMesse is also aiming to save on water and waste disposal, reducing water consumption 15 per cent by 2025 and waste by 20 per cent. There’s even greater potential for savings by running events more sustainably. For instance, the amount of carpet laid in exhibition halls will be reduced significantly, and signage will largely rely on digital solutions. Regional procurement volume will also be expanded – for instance in catering, where subsidiary Lehrieder will rely to a far greater extent on groceries procured regionally.
Better service, Digital Network
Exhibitors will enjoy new facilities and improved processes with NürnbergMesse’s enhanced service concept. For the first time, “Service Buddies” will be patrolling the Exhibition Centre at each trade fair. These employees, based in every company unit, will be actively encouraging exhibitors to tell about their concerns, which they’ll forward to the departments in charge like catering, cleaning, technical services or security. Another new development is the smart “Transitfair” lorry paging system, which will control access to the Exhibition Centre during setup and teardown periods, and thus reduce both traffic congestion and waiting times all around the site.
In digital services, NürnbergMesse will combine a variety of service providers into a “Digital Network”. This will enable customers and employees to access a wide range of digital capabilities – whether database developers for exhibitors or products, or agencies for making videos and hybrid formats. With one of these new digital partners, the hl studios agency from Erlangen, NürnbergMesse has set up the first green screen studio at any German trade fair site, equipped to create virtual media productions. It’s already available now to customers for content production, product shows, presentations or live streams.
2022: Outlook hopeful despite ongoing crises
Following the 19-month ban on events, the trade fair industry in Germany is enjoying a gradual recovery. The persistent pandemic, the war in Ukraine with the consequent uncertainty about energy supplies, the continuing shortage of raw materials, and rising inflation all contribute to mute enthusiasm looking ahead. Nevertheless, NürnbergMesse has been enjoying good demand for its trade fairs, conferences and events so far. For that reason, the company expects that sales for fiscal 2022 will be well above EUR 200 million, and that the net result will improve further. Which will return NürnbergMesse to its customary position as an economic powerhouse for the Nuremberg metropolitan region, again approaching its pre-pandemic contribution EUR 1.93 billion a year towards the region’s purchasing power.