Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rumours of Reed Exhibitions buy-out

The Telegraph is reporting that Reed Elsevier's management has been in discussions with private equity firms about a possible buy-out of Reed's US$1.0 billion exhibitions business.

The Telegraph reported:

"While Reed Elsevier’s chief executive, Erik Engstrom, has insisted there are no current plans for asset disposals, there has been considerable interest in the exhibitions division from the private equity industry.

It is understood that informal meetings were held between the management, led by the division’s chairman Mike Rusbridge, and private equity groups in the past six to 12 months, in which the buy-out firms expressed an interest.

Apax is understood to be keen to pair the division with Emap, which it acquired with Guardian Media Group for around £1.3bn in 2007."

Reed Elsevier and the private equity groups declined to comment on The Telegraph article. The article notes that the discussions took place earlier this year ("in the past six to 12 months") so it is not clear how active these discussions actually are, but given Reed willingness to sell-off and close dozens of its B2B print titles, it seems reasonable that Reed Elsevier would be willing to sell the exhibitions business and focus on its specialty publishing businesses - LexisNexis and Elsevier which posted revenues in 2009 of US$4.1 billion and US$3.2 billion respectively.

It a deal happens, it would be a mega-sized transaction by exhibition industry standards and it would have implications for the industry worldwide - including in Asia where Reed is the largest organiser measured by revenues.

Update: Now CityAM, a London-based, free business newspaper appears to have an exclusive claiming that Reed's discussions with private equity firms have stopped. For what that is worth...

Friday, November 19, 2010

News this week: Info Comm revenues increase

Info Comm first half revenue jump 82%

Hong Kong, 11th November: Hong Kong-listed Info Communication (Info Comm) has announced its interim results for the six months ended 30th September. Revenues were US$1.96 million, a jump of 82% over the first half of 2009. Exhibition businesss generated 61% of revenues at US$1.2 million, a year-on-year 22% increase.

Info Comm recorded a net loss of US$3.2 million compared to a loss of US$2.3 million in the same period last year. Management attributed this loss to weak performance in its exhibition businesses and the costs on share-based payments for the granting of options.

Info Comm announced this week, the possible disposal of its exhibition organisation business to a connected person. Terms and conditions have yet been confirmed.

News this week: Macau's MICE statistics rise

Macau’s Q3 MICE statistics

Macau, 15th November: The Macau Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) has announced the region’s MICE statistics for the third quarter of 2010. The bureau estimated more than 365,000 participants attended 323 MICE events during this period, a year-on-year increase of 44% in participant numbers and 24% in terms of number of events.

The number of MICE events held in Macau increased from 261 last year to 323 in Q3 this year. Of the total, 305 were meetings (up from 246) and the remaining 18 events were exhibitions (up from 15). The 305 meetings in the period attracted more than 43,000 participants, nearly doubling the number of participants in the third quarter of 2009. Participants attending the exhibitions also grew by 40% to almost 322,000.

During the first nine months of 2010, a total of 1,019 MICE events were held in Macau, year-on-year growth of 21%. The number of participants jumped 70% to record around 586,000, with an average stay of 2.36 days in Macau.

News this week: Alibaba.com inks agreement with Intertek

Hangzhou, 17th November: Also from Alibaba.com this week, the company has reportedly signed an agreement with London-based quality and safety solutions provider Intertek. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Under the working agreement, Intertek will make comprehensive assessments of suppliers listed on Alibaba.com. The third party certification will include the number of staff in a company, production capability, trading potential and future product and service development.

According to the China Daily, the China president of Intertek, Fred Bai, claimed over 500 web-merchants from Alibaba.com applied for the certification service during the first month of the trial period, with about another 1,000 willing to participate.

News this week: Alibaba.com acquires One-Touch

Hong Kong, 15th November: B2B e-commerce company Alibaba.com has confirmed its agreement to acquire Shenzhen-based export services provider One-Touch. This is Alibaba.com’s third acquisition this year. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

One-Touch offers Chinese exporters services including: customs clearance, logistics, cargo insurance, currency exchange, tax refund, and financing and certification. One-Touch’s services will reportedly be available through Alibaba.com’s new China Gold Supplier 2011 edition package.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Info Comm looks to sell exhibition business... finally

Hong Kong-listed Info Communication Holdings Limited issued an announcement last week to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange stating that the company is in negotiations with a "connected person" regarding the disposal of its exhibition business.

This announcement is not much of a surprise given that Info Comm's exhibition business has suffered a certain amount of neglect from management since founder Eddie Leung sold his stake to outside investors in November 2007 and the new investors embarked on a failed bid to acquire a coal mine in Inner Mongolia. The outside investors have no background in exhibitions and seem to intent on taking the listed company in another direction.

Info Communication has a portfolio of B2B trade shows focused on a variety of industrial sectors including metals, plastics, packaging, textile machinery and equipment. Info Comm holds exhibitions in multiple markets in China including in Beijing, Dongguan, Guangzhou, Suzhou and Wuhan. The company also organises shows in Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City.

No word yet on who the connected person is and it is unclear if Eddie Leung still has a stake in the listed company.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

News this week: BOL's Q3 revenues up 22%

Bangkok, 9th November: Business Online (BOL), a Bangkok-based business information provider, announced its financial results for the quarter ended 30th September. Revenues for the quarter were US$2.2 million, an increase of 22% over the same quarter last year. Net income was US$487,000, a 14% growth compared with the same quarter in 2009.

BOL also announced results for the nine months ended 30th September. Revenues were US$6.7 million, an 18% increase over the same period in 2009. About 70% of the revenues (US$4.7 million) were generated from its online information service. Net income in the period was US$1.46 million, a drop of 8.7% from US$1.6 million recorded last year.

News this week: HC International cuts loss

Beijing, 10th November: Hong Kong-listed HC International has released its results for the quarter ended 30th September. Revenues were US$15 million, an increase of 22% compared with the same quarter of 2009. Net profit was US$1.7 million, an eight fold increase compared with the previous year.

The company also released the results for the nine months ended 30th September. Revenues were US$40 million, an 18% increase over the first nine months of 2009. The company posted a net loss of US$292,000 compared to a loss of US$461,000 in the same period last year.

For the nine-month period, the Beijing-based B2B publisher noted that about 43% of its revenues (US$17 million) were generated from its online services business segment. The second largest business segment, namely market research and analysis, generated about 18% of its revenues (US$7 million).