MILAN — The integration of two of Italy’s biggest trade show organizers, Rimini Fiera SpA and Fiera di Vicenza SpA, was made official on Oct. 28, with the announcement of the name of the new entity: Italian Exhibition Group. The new group aims to publicly list in 2018 and to further aggregate other trade shows. Two additional shows in the food category are expected to join Italian Exhibition Group on Nov. 3, but president Lorenzo Cagnoni and vice president Matteo Marzotto declined to provide details. Cagnoni and Marzotto were speaking from Rimini, flanked by the mayors of Rimini and Vicenza and general director Claudio Facco, in a videoconference with journalists in Milan at the city’s Stock Exchange.
“Either you increase in size and you become one of the first or you are destined to succumb,” Cagnoni said. Rimini Fiera and Fiera di Vicenza, he added, “are economically solid and complementary, and they share prospects, strategies and vision.”
Marzotto, who has been revitalizing VicenzaOro since his appointment as president of Fiera di Vicenza at the end of December 2013, said
the advantage of joining from other industries was that he had been allowed to see the organization with the eyes of an entrepreneur, look at the balance sheet, the budgets and management. “There was no alternative but to merge. It was logical to become bigger,” he said.
This is the first example of integration of trade shows in the country and it has created a leading pole, the first in Italy in terms of the number of fairs it directly organizes, listing 61 exhibitions including food and beverage, green, technology, entertainment, tourism, jewelry and fashion, wellness, transport, lifestyle and innovation, as well as 160 events, for a total of 2.5 million visitors last year.
The new company is expected to close 2016 with combined sales of around 119 million euros, or $130 million at current exchange rates. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are seen totaling 22.1 million euros, or $24.1 million, with operating profit reaching 13.6 million euros, or $14.8 million, and a net capital of 100 million euros, or $109 million.
The names Rimini Fiera and Fiera di Vicenza will remain to indicate the operating locations and its respective fairgrounds.
Marzotto and Cagnoni emphasized that it remained key to be an international organization. The group already relies on a joint venture in the United Arab Emirates and presence in the U.S., China and India, with projects in South America.
Italian Exhibition Group is in line with the government’s efforts to further develop the Made in Italy label internationally through the support of the trade shows and main exhibitions in the world. In October, a memorandum of understanding meant to promote and develop the Italian fashion system around the world was signed in Rome during a meeting of the Fashion Committee, held at the Ministry of Economic Development and presided over by Ivan Scalfarotto, the deputy minister of economic development, and attended by, among others, representatives of ICE and the Italian Trade Commission as well as by Carlo Capasa, president of the Camera Nazionale della Moda and several other high-profile fashion industry members. As per the agreement, starting next September all fashion trade fairs will take place during Milan Fashion Week and the city will organize cultural initiatives, concerts and exhibitions to emphasize the event, in a sort of international Expo. VicenzaOro will move its date to coincide with Milan Fashion Week, running Sept. 23-27 next year, as reported.
The Italian trade show system represents 50 percent of exports and has sales of 60 billion euros, or $65.4 billion, Cagnoni said.
Additionally, organizers said Rimini Fiera plans to invest 23 million euros, or $25 million, to expand its show space to reach 216,000 square feet. Fiera di Vicenza is earmarking an investment of 20 to 25 million euros, or $21.8 to $27.2 million, which follows expenditures of 40 million euros, or $43.6 million, for a new pavilion and parking lots, which have already been completed.