MILAN — Two of Italy’s biggest trade show organizers, Rimini Fiera SpA and Fiera di Vicenza SpA, have inked a letter of intent to integrate the two companies and create a single entity, eyeing an initial public offering. “The fusion should be completed by the end of the year, and the IPO could take place in the first quarter of 2017 on the Milan Stock Exchange,” Matteo Marzotto, president of Fiera di Vicenza, told WWD.

“The combined entity will become the first trade show in Italy in terms of profitability, the second in terms of revenues, the first in terms of leverage and the first in terms of number of products with high added value,” observed Marzotto.

The entrepreneur noted that the IPO will contribute to help the two organizations, which “need to continuously and heavily invest with many good ideas. We need to [build muscle].”

The combined trade shows in 2016 are expected to generate earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 23 million euros, or $26.2 million at current exchange, and aggregated sales of around 120 million euros, or $136.8 million.

Marzotto praised Fiera di Rimini as “one of the most dynamic” entities, “with a very interesting product portfolio that has invested and built one of the most important fairs on wellness in Europe.” He also touted its “green, sustainable core” and the touristic and hospitality reception in the area. Rimini is a town on the Adriatic coast, also known as director Federico Fellini’s birthplace.

Lorenzo Cagnoni, president of Rimini Fiera, defined the agreement as “entirely new” in the field. “This is an operation that sees two healthy and robust companies with distinct but complementary roles,” said Cagnoni, underscoring the “evident market opportunities.”

Rimini Fiera, founded more than 60 years ago, includes 41 highly specialized trade shows, of which 11 are international, mainly organized directly, covering food and beverage; green; technology; entertainment; tourism; transport and wellness, as well as managing the city’s conference stadium, Palacongressi.

Fiera di Vicenza, founded in 1948, organizes Italy’s leading jewelry and watch fair VicenzaOro,  among other lifestyle trade shows, as well as also being recognized as a cultural hub and being active in organizing conventions and summits. In 2015, it posted revenues of 36.8 million euros, or $40.8 million at average exchange up 14.5 percent compared with 2014.

In February, Fiera di Vicenza said it was considering an IPO, as reported.

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