Exhibitions: MCH aims to be back in the black in 2024

The MCH Group has recovered from the Corona crisis in the exhibition and congress business and aims to be back in the black in 2024 by strengthening its existing exhibitions and expanding its congress business.

The MCH Group believes it is on the verge of a successful future with the new Spring Basel event exhibition, among other things. Picture: Keystone/OBS/Spring Basel.

The management of the MCH Group sees hopeful signs in the 62 percent increase in sales to 394.1 million Swiss francs and the improvement in EBITDA to 14 million Swiss francs, despite the loss of 9.3 million Swiss francs. The task now is to get the exhibition business, which has been badly affected by the Corona crisis, back on its feet, said Group CEO Florian Faber.

The MCH Group is relying first and foremost on the existing exhibitions. And here, the company is optimistic. Giardina in Zurich was a success, as was the first edition of the newly launched Spring Basel event exhibition. The recently concluded Art Basel in Hong Kong, too, had almost reached its pre-Corona level again, with around 86,000 visitors.

Those responsible are optimistic about the near future. The signs for the upcoming Igeho gastronomy trade fair in November and for Art Basel at the original location of Basel are promising. And for Swissbau, Basel's largest trade fair, scheduled for January 2024, the organizers are confident that they will be able to return to their old successes after the slimmed-down Corona edition in 2022.

At the Basel edition of Art Basel, Faber referred to the newly strengthened cooperation with the various players in Basel - from the canton to the hotel industry to the trade fair. In concrete terms, the aim is to strengthen the attractiveness of the trade fair environment.

No new own trade fairs

The MCH Group does not intend to launch any new exhibitions of its own. And the watch and jewelry business is also being left alone, as Faber put it - garnished with the remark that the MCH Group is very much involved in the current Geneva watch show "Watches and Wonders Geneva" with its Experience Marketing division and as a stand builder.

In the case of guest exhibitions, however, the MCH Group as hall owner still sees potential for increasing capacity. The guest exhibition Fantasy, which was able to attract over 62,000 visitors in 2022, was cited as an exemplary example.

The MCH Group also sees potential for expansion in the congresses. A current example is the Sustainability Days, which are coming to an end on Wednesday. Here, the MCH Group has combined several existing brands, such as the MUT Environmental Technology Exhibition and Smart Suisse, to form a new sustainability congress.

Within the Group, the Board of Directors will be reduced from nine to seven members at the upcoming Annual General Meeting on May 4. In the future, the Board of Directors will consist of two members each from the canton of Basel-Stadt and the anchor shareholder Lupa Systems, as well as three independent members.

The City and Canton of Zurich will no longer be involved. Following the reduction in their shareholdings caused by the capital increase, they have decided not to appoint a delegate.

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