UBM BUOYED BY INCREASED EMERGING MARKETS EXPOSURE
05-Mar-10by Annie Byrne
WORLD – United Business Media's ties in the emerging markets have helped stem the decline in its events business according to company results for the year ended 31 December 2009.While overall revenue for the organiser and media company declined by almost £40m to £847.6m, and adjusted operating profit dropped to £171.2m from £173.5m, the company’s events business saw revenues drop by just 1.5 per cent, a fraction of the decline experienced by its competitors. By comparison, Reed Exhibitions experienced a year-on-year revenue downturn of 21 per cent, and Informa saw a revenue decline of 27 per cent.UBM’s events division now accounts for 51 per cent of adjusted operating profits, up on 47 per cent the previous year. The company attributes the halt in events business decline in part to a “very strong” second half of the year in terms of biennial tradeshow performance, with revenues up 55 per cent on 2007.UBM CEO, David Levin, pictured, said UBM has “reshaped” its businesses towards market opportunities “that provide sustainable growth revenue streams”. "Our events business traded well in 2009, contributing more than half our adjusted operating profits and demonstrating the growing importance of market-leading face-to-face events in the digital age,” he said. The company recently announced its acquisition of the UK event E Commerce Expo to boost its presence in the e-commerce, internet retailing and digital marketing sectors. “Our large tradeshows fared particularly well with our top 20 annual events - which contribute around half of our events revenue and over two thirds of our events adjusted operating profits - growing nearly 12 per cent,” added Levin. “As expected our second half biennial shows in Asia and Europe were notably strong."Levin explains that much of UBM’s effort over the past year was in progressing the company’s long-term strategy to build its business in emerging economies. The strategy, he claims, is proving successful, with China, India and Brazil now contributing more than a fifth of UBM's adjusted operating profits and nearly 14 per cent of its revenues, representing revenue and adjusted operating profit growth of more than 35 per cent.UBM’s revenues from the rest of Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and Middle East amounted to a further £41m, up 17.1 per cent on 2008. These territories contributed 4.5 per cent of UBM's adjusted operating profits in 2009. The figure for 2008 was three per cent."We go into 2010 with our strategy clearly defined and with the operational and financial resources in place to implement that strategy,” summarised Levin. “Despite the tentative and uneven economic recovery we see across our markets, we believe we are very well positioned for profitable growth in the medium term."In related news, UBM has resolved its decade-long dialogue with the UK tax authorities over the tax payable on the sale of its regional newspapers business in 1998. “We have agreed to make a payment of £46.5m in settlement of this and a number of other tax issues. This, together with the resolution of a number of other tax matters, has resulted in a release of £135.2m of our previous tax creditor," said Levin.