Messe Frankfurt has been able to continue its growth course more quickly than anticipated and now expects a further increase in sales for the current financial year. Around 340 events are being held under the Messe Frankfurt umbrella in 2023. After a very dynamic first six months, projections for the second half of the year are also good. The Group is able to operate at full force largely thanks to the decision by top management not to lay off any staff during the three-year crisis period. With investments in its core business and digital transformation and a strong focus on sustainability, Messe Frankfurt is continuing to optimize its long-term corporate strategy.
Speaking at the Corporate Press Conference earlier today, Wolfgang Marzin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Messe Frankfurt, stressed: “Having the event business firing on all cylinders again with a high international component and high satisfaction levels demonstrates the commitment throughout all sectors. Financial year 2023 is well above our expectations. If everything continues in this positive vein, we expect another positive operating earnings performance in 2023. And we will be on track for an estimated €600 million in sales, even though the rotation of events means that a smaller number of Messe Frankfurt events are being held at our Frankfurt base this year. This means that Messe Frankfurt is well and truly back in the premier league of international trade fair companies.”
Stephanie Wüst, Head of the City of Frankfurt’s Department of Economy, Legal Affairs and Reform and Chairperson of Messe Frankfurt’s Supervisory Board, emphasised: “The trade fair business has recovered significantly and its performance since mid-2022 has been very encouraging again, even though the record levels of pre-COVID years are not yet within reach. It is good news for the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main metropolitan region that Messe Frankfurt’s economic engine is up and running again and contributing to the prosperity of the region. My Supervisory Board colleagues and I are very grateful to Messe Frankfurt’s Executive Board and workforce for acting with such foresight during these difficult years and keeping the company on course with a great deal of personal commitment. After all, Messe Frankfurt not only enhances the reputation of our city and region but is an international calling card as well. With the strategic orientation of its worldwide portfolio, the digital and sustainable redevelopment of its Frankfurt base and its aim to attain climate neutrality by 2040, there is still a lot of work ahead. And we will always be at hand to provide Messe Frankfurt with advice and support.”
According to the final figures for financial year 2022, sales revenue almost tripled year-on-year to €454.2 million (2021: €153.8 million) even though the event year was still subject to pandemic restrictions. Of this, some €314 million was generated in Germany, accounting for 69 percent of sales revenue for the Group. EBITDA was €40.6 million (2021: €-74.9 million). The consolidated net loss has been reduced and is now at €-25.7 million (2021: €-139.2 million). The figures in financial year 2022 were substantially better than in the year that preceded it. A total of 310 events took place in the past financial year, with more than 46,500 exhibiting companies and over 2.4 million visitors.
Messe Frankfurt grounds to be climate-neutral by 2040 at the latest
Sustainable and environmentally conscious business practices are playing a key role in the Group’s strategic further development. As Marzin explained: “Our aim is to combine ethical conduct and business activities in the context of ecological values. With our new target architecture, we are continuing the sustainable redevelopment of our company and will carry on processing ecological, social and economic dimensions in a structured way.” Based on a materiality analysis, subgoals are first formulated and then mapped out in a sustainability roadmap for Messe Frankfurt. The focus here will be on attaining greenhouse gas neutrality and establishing a sustainable water management system. Marzin: “We will continue to be guided by the need for substantial and measurable measures – i.e. measures that can also be verified.” Steps being taken for the forthcoming EMAS certification – the European standard – in November 2023 are on schedule. The company’s aim is for its Frankfurt exhibition grounds to be climate-neutral by 2040 at the latest. Messe Frankfurt published its first Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) Report within the scope of its Texpertise Network. As Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt, explained: “The aim of this report is to provide inspiration and motivation for the Texpertise Network to further develop its activities and to help ensure that the SDGs are achieved in the global textile sector by 2030.” For around fifteen years, Messe Frankfurt has been a pioneering force when it comes to strategically promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at its textile events around the world through thematically specific formats and content. Since 2019, the company has been working closely together with the United Nations Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network, a joint initiative of the United Nations Office for Partnerships and the Fashion Impact Fund.
Investing in the future
In addition to sustainability, digitalization is a key factor in Messe Frankfurt’s efforts to generate growth and strengthen its core business. The Group will continue to expand the international modernization programme that it began around five years ago. As Wolfgang Marzin emphasized: “With large-scale digitalization programmes throughout the Group, we will continue to modernize the entire company and make it fit for the future.” Here, the focus is on increasing efficiency for customers and optimizing the integration of events at content level through suitable event-related digital platforms. “This will enable us to strengthen our operational efficiency as a whole and stay in touch with our customers 365 days a year”, said Marzin. Braun added: “Messe Frankfurt sees itself as a business enabler all year round.” It is important for Messe Frankfurt to constantly have new digital solutions at the ready and to help stationary retailers to equip themselves for the future. Braun: “The key factor is still the in-person trade fair experience – this is still very much at the focus and supplemented effectively by digital elements before and after the events.” As a prime example, Braun cited the consumer goods fair trio Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld. These events were fully booked to capacity in February. At the same time, there were more than 80,000 virtual visitors to the Digital Extension online platform and more than 1,000 hours of content were consumed.
The high relevance of Messe Frankfurt’s flagship events for their sectors was also reflected at Eurobike, the central platform for the Bike and Future Mobility sector. As Uwe Behm, Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt, underlined: “The successful growth of the second Eurobike event to take place on our Frankfurt exhibition grounds shows that it was the right decision to relocate the event here. It is also an enormous success for Fairnamic, our joint venture with Messe Friedrichshafen. This unique partnership allows us to bundle our shared strengths.” On all days of the trade fair, the spotlight was on sustainable mobility – particularly in urban areas. At the National Cycling Congress in Messe Frankfurt’s Kap Europa congress centre, the bicycle sector also came together with representatives from the realms of business, policymaking and science to discuss sustainable mobility solutions for the future.
Messe Frankfurt plans to step up its activities outside Germany with around 20 events scheduled to make their debut between 2023 and 2025. At more than 50 locations around the world, the Group’s global portfolio has played an important role in its strategic company orientation for more than three decades, together with its global sales network consisting of 28 subsidiaries and over 50 sales partners. The Messe Frankfurt Group is one of the largest global players in the international trade fair sector.
A wide variety of guest events and added value for Frankfurt as a trade fair centre
The enthusiastic mood at Messe Frankfurt’s own events has also been in evidence at the guest events held at the company’s Frankfurt base. In the course of this financial year, Frankfurt is playing host to some 200 trade fairs, congresses, conferences and other guest events. As well as the numerous traditional guest events with which Messe Frankfurt has worked closely together for many years, its Frankfurt base will benefit from the arrival of a number of new formats. As Uwe Behm explained: “Together with the Frankfurt Convention Bureau, we were able to persuade Sibos, a major international event in the financial sector, to come to Frankfurt. The global rolling congress will be held in 2025 and is a perfect fit for a leading international financial hub like Frankfurt.” The exhibition alone will cover an area of 50,000 square metres. The conference, exhibition, and networking formats will use the Congress Center, the Forum and Hall 3 in its entirety. More than 10,000 participants from all over the world are expected to attend. One of the new events is the Inova Collection (trade fair for jewelry, gemstones, pearls, and watches), which will be held in August. As well as this, Passenger Terminal EXPO, a trade fair and conference for the airport and aviation industry, is expected to take place in 2024. And the European sector for pest control, disinfection, plant protection, wood, and building protection will be coming together in Frankfurt next year for Pest Protect, the largest event of its kind on the European mainland.
Modernizing the exhibition grounds
Construction work on the Messeplatz Entrance project and the Sparda Bank Tower – of which Sparda Bank is the owner and developer – is progressing according to schedule on the south side of the Frankfurt exhibition grounds. With the completion of the Messeplatz Entrance by 2026, the prestigious new face of Messe Frankfurt will make the exhibition grounds even more accessible for visitors as well as further increasing the quality of the time they spend there.