Tarsus Set To Deliver Record Figures As Emerging Markets Focus Pays Off

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International business-to-business media group Tarsus (LON:TRS) produced record revenues and profitability in 2011 and is expecting to build on its momentum in Middle and Far Eastern markets this year. The news follows an active 12 months for Tarsus, which is eager to grow its position in emerging markets and has enjoyed strong performances across its portfolio of events.

Those performances helped to drive like-for-like organic revenues, at constant exchange rates, up by approximately 8% during the year. Excluding the underperforming French market, where the company sold its stake in Modamont late last year, organic revenue growth was approximately 13%. As a result, pre-tax profits for the year ended 31 December 2011 are expected to be in line with expectations. Cash flow remained strong with net debt at the year-end at approximately £14 million – well ahead of expectations and a halving of debt since the beginning of 2011.

Tarsus’ commitment to increasing its exposure to emerging markets – where it wants to derive 50% of revenues by 2013 – led to the notable £10 million acquisition of IFO in Turkey last June. The first Sign Istanbul exhibition under the group’s ownership took place in early December and was a major success. Revenues were up 28% on the previous edition and visitor numbers were strong. Meanwhile, Tarsus’ focus on large, market-leading exhibitions not only triggered the sale of Modamont but also the more recent disposal of its small online businesses in both the UK and the US.

Among the group’s successful events last year were GESS (educational equipment) and Gulf Print amp; Pack in Dubai, followed later on by a record performance from the Dubai Airshow. Hope, the group’s Chinese joint venture, delivered a record performance in 2011 with revenues up 25%. Labelexpo Asia, which took place in late November in Shanghai, saw revenues and visitors increase by 41% and 9%, respectively.

In the US, the February and August Off-Price Shows in Las Vegas performed well, and the group’s Medical division demonstrated ‘outstanding growth’ with revenues increasing by approximately 20%. The notable success in Europe was Tarsus’ second largest exhibition, Labelexpo Europe, which produced a like-for-like revenue increase of 14% and record attendance.

Douglas Emslie, the managing director of Tarsus, said: “The year ended well, resulting in record revenue and profitability. Cash flow was strong with net debt halving. We have one significant event in the first quarter of 2012 – the Off-Price Show in Las Vegas. Current indications are that it will produce revenues ahead of the equivalent event in 2011. We are encouraged by the momentum of our US Medical business, Off-Price events and Labelexpo Americas, but remain vigilant given the second half weighting of our profits and the ongoing macro uncertainty in Europe. The momentum we are building across the Middle and Far Eastern markets augurs well for 2013 when our two large biennial events recur.”

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