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18/08/2017
Min 15% value addition must for procurement of imported steel

Imported steel must undergo a minimum prescribed value addition of 15 per cent in order to be eligible for procurement by government departments, the steel ministry said today.  The government in May had approved the Domestically Manufactured Iron & Steel Products (DMI&SP) Policy for providing preference to locally produced iron and steel products. 

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17/07/2018 07:01:57 Completion of Ascential Exhibitions acquisition

We are delighted to announce the completion of the acquisition of the Ascential Exhibitions business.

Following the initial announcement of 15th May, we are delighted to announce the completion of the acquisition of Ascential Exhibitions business - a highly complementary portfolio of market-leading events.  We look forward to bringing renewed focus and investment to help them achieve their growth potential. 

Mark Shashoua, ITE Group CEO, said: “I am delighted to announce the completion of the acquisition of the Ascential Exhibitions business, a highly complementary portfolio of market-leading events.  We look forward to giving them the investment, management focus and international platform they need to grow.

“I’d like to welcome all our new colleagues who have joined us from the Ascential Exhibitions business, as we look to run the best shows, anywhere in the world.”

Read the full announcement here.

  

10/07/2018 06:54:50 Trading Update: Q3 FY2018

ITE is today publishing a Trading Update for the period from 1 April 2018 to 10 July 2018.

ITE is today publishing a Trading Update for the period from 1 April 2018 to 10 July 2018.

Revenue for the period was around £58m - 13% ahead of the comparative period on a like for like basis. This was driven by strong underlying trading - particularly for the four top 10 events that took place in the quarter, which all delivered double-digit revenue growth.

The update also covers the acquisition of the Ascential Events business, part funded by a circa £265m rights issue. This acquisition is due to complete on 17 July 2018.

The TAG programme is also going to plan, with continued roll-outs of Event Best Practice Blueprints and disposal of 3 non-core events and the Malaysian subsidiary Trade Link, the organiser of the metalworking exhibition Metaltech which would have taken place under ITE ownership in May 2018.

Overall, the Group had booked circa £153m of revenue for the nine months to 30 June 2018 (30 June 2017: £145m).

To read the full update, please click below.

ITE Group Trading Update Q3 FY2018

16/05/2018 11:24:19 Webcast: Interim Results 2018

ITE Group CEO Mark Shashoua and CFO Andrew Beach present the company's H1 2018 Interim Results to analysts, with a Q&A session at the end of the presentation.

ITE Group CEO Mark Shashoua and CFO Andrew Beach present the company's H1 2018 Interim Results to analysts, with a Q&A session at the end of the presentation.

Watch the webcast here:

ITE Group Interim Results 2018: Webcast Presentation


15/05/2018 07:04:00 Interim Results 2018 & Acquisition Update

Today we announce our interim results for the six months ended 31 March 2018 and the proposed acquisition of Ascential Events Limited.


ITE GROUP PLC
(“ITE” or the “Group”)

INTERIM RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT


Transformation and Growth Programme (“TAG”) underpins strong organic revenue growth

Proposed acquisition of complementary market leading events from Ascential plc for £300m

 


Financial highlights
  Six months to
31 March 2018
Six months to
31 March 2017
Volume sales 353,300 m2 325,200 m2
Revenue £75.4m £69.6m
Headline profit before tax £16.0m £15.4m
Profit before tax £1.3m £3.1m
Headline diluted earnings per share2 3.7p 3.9p
Diluted earnings per share  (0.7p)  0.6p
Interim dividend per share 1.5p 1.5p
Net debt3 £51.2m  £55.2m


  • First year of like-for-like4 growth in volume and yields since 2014
  • Revenue of £75.4m; growth of 8% on a like-for-like basis, driven by early TAG initiatives, focus on Core events and the majority of markets returning to like-for-like revenue growth
  • Four top 10 events ran in the period and together delivered double digit like-for-like revenue growth
  • Headline profit before tax (“Headline PBT”) of £16.0m; statutory profit before tax of £1.3m
  • Growth of 2% on a like-for-like basis in headline PBT reflects reinvestment into future events
  • Continued strong cash generation from sales initiatives and reduced net debt by 7% to £51.2m
  • Maintained interim dividend of 1.5p, in line with policy
  • Forward bookings5 of £144 million already contracted for FY18; 2019 forward bookings up 31% on a like-for-like basis

Strategy update
  • Early TAG initiatives and focus on Core6 events is driving performance
  • Most markets have now returned to growth – continued good progress in Moscow
  • Completed negotiations to move Mosbuild to Russia’s largest exhibition venue on a long term basis
  • TAG investment is on track, expenditure within budget
  • Continued progress in managing the portfolio, including the disposal of TradeLink ITE Sdn. Bhd (“TradeLink”) for £4.2m

Proposed acquisition of Ascential Events Limited
  • Proposed acquisition of seven market leading and scalable event brands
  • Expected to be earnings enhancing in first full year of ownership
  • Cost synergies achievable net of investment
  • Strong scope for growth under ITE management as part of Core portfolio
  • Diversifies ITE’s revenue by geography and product
  • Addition of market leading brands supports and accelerates the delivery of ITE’s vision
  • Standby underwriting entered into with Investec Bank plc in respect of the proposed rights issue to fund the acquisition


Mark Shashoua, CEO of ITE Group plc, commented:
“We are seeing the benefits from a number of our early initiatives in the TAG programme which has driven a return to revenue growth in most of our markets. Overall, revenues were up 8% on a like-for-like basis and, encouragingly, the focus on operational rigour on our Core events delivered the first like-for-like volume and yield growth since 2014. Consistent with this, the four top 10 shows that took place during the first half collectively delivered double digit revenue growth.

Today we have also announced the proposed acquisition of seven highly complementary market leading events from Ascential plc. These events are well known to us, the acquisition is in line with our product-led acquisition strategy and gives us the benefit of a more balanced portfolio by geography and product. It also adds two more global brands in BETT and CWIEME and is expected to be earnings enhancing in 2019, our first full financial year of ownership.

As a result of our focus on forward bookings we have good visibility into this year and next with revenues booked for 2018 at 89% of consensus for the full year and, on a like-for-like basis, bookings for 2019 are up 31% at £31.0m. The combination of good progress on TAG and the proposed acquisition of Ascential Events Limited represent significant steps for ITE in realising its vision of creating the world’s leading portfolio of content-driven, must-attend events that deliver an outstanding experience and ROI for our customers.

The acquisition is conditional, inter alia, on obtaining shareholder approval and the completion of a proposed rights issue which will be launched in due course. Further details can be found in the separate announcement on the acquisition also issued today.



1. Headline profit before tax is defined as profit before tax and adjusting items which include amortisation of acquired intangibles, impairment of goodwill, intangible assets and investments, profits or losses arising on disposal of Group undertakings, restructuring costs, transaction and integration costs on completed and pending acquisitions and disposals, tax on income from associates and joint ventures, gains or losses on the revaluation of deferred/contingent consideration and on equity option liabilities over non-controlling interests, and imputed interest charges on discounted equity option liabilities – see note 3 to the condensed consolidated financial statements for details.
2. Headline diluted earnings per share is calculated using profit attributable to shareholders before adjusting items – see notes 3 and 6 to the condensed consolidated financial statements for details.
3. Net debt is defined as cash and cash equivalents after deducting bank loans.
4. Like-for-like results are stated on a constant currency basis, after excluding events which took place in the current period but did not take place under our ownership in the comparative period and after excluding events which took place in the comparative period but did not take place under our ownership in the current period. For clarity, this excludes all:

- Biennial events;
- Timing differences (i.e. events that ran in only one of the current or comparative periods, due to changes in the event dates);
- Launches;
- Cancelled or disposed of events that did not take place under our ownership in the current year;
- Acquired events in the current period; and
- Acquired events in the comparative period that didn’t take place under our ownership in the comparative period (i.e. they took place pre-acquisition).
See ‘Trading highlights and review of operations’ for further detail.
5. Forward bookings are contracted revenues for the years ending 30 September 2018 and 30 September 2019. These are the bookings as at 11 May 2018, unless otherwise stated.
6. Core events are those of strategic importance to our future and include the Group’s largest events, those with the greatest potential for growth and a number of smaller but strategically important events. Following the strategic review, the Group deliberately segmented its business into Core and Non-Core, enabling management to increase its focus on events that present the greatest opportunities whilst reducing distraction from smaller events.


Enquiries:
Mark Shashoua, Chief Executive Officer
Andrew Beach, Chief Financial Officer
Melissa McVeigh, Director of Communications
 
 ITE Group plc 020 7596 5000
Charles Palmer / Emma Hall / Harry Staight 
 
FTI Consulting 020 3727 1000
Nick Westlake / Toby Adcock
 
Numis 020 7260 1000
 

About ITE Group plc
ITE Group plc was founded in 1991 and is now one of the world’s leading organisers of international exhibitions and conferences.

ITE Group’s strategic vision is to create the world’s leading portfolio of content-driven, must-attend events delivering an outstanding experience and ROI for our customers. In May 2017 the Group launched its Transformation & Growth (TAG) programme, which is designed to transform the Company from a geographic-led business to a product-led business that focuses on market-leading events, wherever they are in the world. ITE strives to run the best shows and offer the best service to its customers throughout the world regardless of location. By putting exhibitors and visitors at the heart of everything we do, we plan to drive sustainable growth for our shareholders.

ITE Group is a public limited company and has been listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange since 1998.



Executive summary
ITE has delivered a strong overall trading performance as we start to see the benefits of our early TAG programme initiatives coming through. This was the first period of like-for-like growth in both yield and volume since 2014 and these results reflect revenue growth in the majority of our markets as a result of our early TAG initiatives and focus on our Core events.

Revenues of £75.4m (2017: £69.6m) for the first six months are 8% higher than the same period last year on a like-for-like basis. This was as a result of improved like-for-like trading (£6.2m), driven by strong performances across several markets with volume growth achieved in Russia, Asia, Central Asia and Eastern & Southern Europe. Revenue growth was also supported by the benefit of biennials and event timing differences (£4.3m) and a small positive impact from the acquisition of the Gehua portfolio of events in China, which completed during the previous year (£0.5m, net of other event disposals). This was offset by the adverse impact from foreign exchange (£3.5m) and the cancellation of 22 of our less profitable events in line with our strategy (£1.6m, net of launches).

Despite the revenue impact of the net cancellations and costs associated with the TAG programme, headline profits before tax of £16.0m are 4% higher than the same period last year. The increase is due to the positive impact of biennial events and timing differences (£2.4m), net acquisitions (£0.4m) and foreign exchange (£0.2m). This was offset by the impact of ongoing investment in the TAG programme (£2.7m). Because of the positive top line performance and continued growth at Sinostar (our Chinese joint venture), we have been able to make additional investments into future events, spending £1.5m more than at this stage in the comparative period. Despite these reinvestments, headline profit before tax grew by 2% on a like-for-like basis.

Reported profits before tax were £1.3m (2017: £3.1m). This is after including £2.3m of one-off costs relating to the TAG Programme (2017: £nil). This takes our total spend, recognised in the income statement, on one-off TAG costs to £6.9m since the launch of the programme, which is slightly less than previously indicated, due to timing.

Russia, a significant part of our business, has delivered a strong performance, ahead of market growth following the decision to allocate the largest proportion of TAG investment into the region. Like-for-like volumes were 6% higher than this time last year, following a strong performance across the Core Moscow portfolio and at the Core agriculture event in Krasnodar, Yugagro.

Whilst there has been an increase in political tensions between Russia and the West, there has been a negligible effect on both results to date and forward bookings. It is important to note that the effects of the sanctions in 2014 have meant that exposure to US/UK companies attending our Russian events is very small, accounting for just £0.4m (0.3%) of Group revenues in 2017. Through our strong sales operations in certain international markets we are experiencing growth in particular from Chinese and Turkish exhibitors.

In other regions, we delivered like-for-like revenue growth across all regions in Asia and our Chinese joint venture Sinostar performed well, contributing £6.7m to profitability. On a like-for-like revenue basis both Turkey and Ukraine experienced double-digit growth. In Turkey this represents just one event – the EMITT travel show – which returned to growth this year, following management attention and operational improvements delivered as part of the TAG programme.

We have recently rolled out improved content at our Core shows in Moscow, Istanbul and across the Brands portfolio, and exhibitor NPS scores are on average up by 10 points. Core buying groups and revisits (which is a key indicator of quality audiences returning throughout the show and staying longer) are both up.

This has led to increased levels of rebooking for 2019 where we are 31% ahead of this time last year on a like-for-like volume basis, with bookings at £31m (2017: £27m).

As at 11 May 2018, the Group has contracted £144m of revenue for the current financial year which is 13% ahead of last year on a like-for-like basis. This is partly due to bookings being made earlier as a result of a focused sales effort on Core events, and gives the Group much improved visibility, which represents 89% of consensus.

Strategic Update - TAG programme
Our vision is “To create the world’s leading portfolio of content-driven, must-attend events delivering an outstanding experience and ROI for our customers”.

By putting exhibitors and visitors at the heart of everything we do, we plan to drive sustainable growth for our shareholders. ITE strives to run the best shows and offer the best service to its customers throughout the world, regardless of location. The Group’s focus on a product-led strategy will see ITE focus on events that are market leading or have a clear path to become number one in their sector.

Following the announcement of our TAG programme a year ago, our early TAG initiatives are progressing according to plan, within budget and already driving strong organic revenue growth. 2018 is about rigorous attention to detail and execution of our plan.

The TAG Programme comprises of three pillars of strategic activity to drive revenue and accelerate growth.

  • Create a scalable platform to generate real organic growth;
  • Actively manage our portfolio; and
  • Make selective product-led acquisitions.

Create a scalable platform
Organic revenue growth is being delivered by directing TAG investment towards five transformational levers by creating best practice functions and teams, investing in show operations, building capability and talent, driving a performance culture and building and maintaining a fit for purpose IT infrastructure and systems. 

Creating a strong operational Head Quarters in order to instil best practice across each area of our business is imperative to our transformation.  Having recruited the Heads of Best Practice we now have the team in place to deliver our transformation.  To ensure that our shows are consistently run at the same level of excellence anywhere in the world we have implemented the ‘ITE way’ and rolled out multiple best practice initiatives following the launch of our ‘Events Best Practice’ blueprints. We are committed to rolling out blue prints for every activity associated with running a successful events business.

Our main focus for TAG in 2018 is on content, lead generation and customer service. During the period, ITE has started to deliver events with much richer content in order to attract new visitors and drive retention. Initiatives have had an immediate impact. For example, EMITT, the East Mediterranean International Tourism and Travel Exhibition show grew double digit revenues on like-for-like basis and rebooked 45% of 2018 revenues for the 2019 event onsite. This is a significant achievement as many of the customers are national tourist boards whose budgets are typically only set later in the calendar year. Our focus on onsite rebooking at a number of Core events continues to strengthen our sales visibility.

To ensure the Group becomes more efficient, work is underway to put in place common systems to deliver a better service across the world to ITE’s customers. A new CRM and HR system is set to be launched this year with a new marketing system to be rolled out over the next 18 months, while we are in the early stages of designing our new global finance system. 

Clear progress has been made during the first half of the year across the five levers and the Group is on track with its 2018 milestones:

Transformational Lever
 
Benefit
 
2018 Milestones
 
Create best practice functions and teams
 
Deliver best-in-class processes implemented globally across the Group, greater efficiency via standardised processes, a more structured and accountable leadership, and a globally consistent ‘ITE way’ driving efficiency and greater attendee experience
 
  • Completed the design of the ‘ITE way’
  • Implementation has begun of the ‘ITE way’
Invest in show operations Enhance customer retention and exhibitor reach, obtain enriched data insights and improve operational efficiency

 
  • Regional customer success teams have been started
  • Dedicated regional content teams have been formed
  • Implementation of value-based pricing methods has been started
  • Show ‘blueprints’ have been rolled out
  • New show content has begun to be deployed in Core shows e.g. MITT, MosBuild
Build capability and talent
 
Attract and retain talent, develop internal capabilities, and establish the right capabilities to drive business and adapt to market changes
 
  • Dedicated specific training programmes have been rolled out for Sales teams
  • All key Regional Directors have been recruited
Drive a performance culture
 
Create a values-driven organisation that encourages high performance and rewards success and talent, building a winning team with an aspirational culture
 
  • Standardisation of performance management is ongoing
Build and maintain fit for purpose IT infrastructure and systems
 
Create a global IT function and infrastructure that can support the requirements of a flexible, mobile and highly effective workforce that operates globally, but delivers locally, and supports and enables the ‘ITE way’ of working
 
  • Integrated sales and marketing systems have been launched
  • Systems design and development has been completed for Marketing and HR and in the early stages of design for Finance
  • Systems to be deployed in phased waves

 


 


 

















Actively manage the portfolio
The Group continues to manage its portfolio by implementing a more rigorous approach to the allocation of capital. Under current management, since October 2016, in line with the aims of the TAG programme, we have discontinued 59 less profitable events as we continue to focus on our Core events. Despite these closures, revenues have grown.

Post period end, the Group recognised a profit on disposal, having sold TradeLink, the owner of Metaltech, the metalworking exhibition in Malaysia, to UBMMG Holdings Sdn. Bhd., a subsidiary of UBM plc for a total cash consideration of MYR 23m (£4.2m). This transaction marks a further step towards this second element of TAG to manage our portfolio of events and the proceeds will be reinvested into the Group. 

Having deliberately segmented our business into Core and Non-Core, management is able to increase its focus on events that present the greatest opportunities whilst reducing distraction from smaller events. The Group continues to apply the transformational levers to its Core events to realise their full potential and each segment of the portfolio requires a different degree of focus and different transformational levers to maximise its growth.

In line with its product-led strategy, the Group will continue to pro-actively review its portfolio on an ongoing basis and will review its options if too much time or investment is involved to deliver expected target growth.

Product-led acquisitions
The third TAG pillar is for the Group to make selective product-led acquisitions to accelerate growth in line with its strict M&A criteria. Each opportunity will be carefully reviewed, but will not be limited to any particular geography as the Group aims to run the best shows in the best industries anywhere in the world. These product led acquisitions would also benefit from the best practice teams that are now in place so that standardisation of processes would drive further organic growth post acquisition.

A pipeline of product-led opportunities is building, but the Group will only proceed if such opportunities meet most of the following criteria:
  • Scalability – in sectors with high growth potential
  • A distinct customer value proposition – serving a clear part of an industry sector
  • Position in attractive markets for events – serving a high growth underlying market
  • Evidence of strong organic revenue growth and profit margins
  • Potential to roll out internationally – dependent on the product
  • Earnings accretive – offering a good return on invested capital
The Directors believe that the Ascential Exhibitions Business is an attractive, high-quality portfolio of ‘must-attend’ exhibitions. The Acquisition aligns with ITE’s continuing TAG Programme and specifically its strategy of making product-led acquisitions of scalable events brands which are seen as offering strong growth potential under ITE’s ownership.

The proposed acquisition will diversify ITE’s exposure to some end-market verticals such as education technology and coil winding, electric motor and transformer manufacturing technologies that the Directors believe are attractive and supported by structural growth drivers, creating a more balanced portfolio of events.

The proposed acquisition will also diversify ITE’s geographic footprint, giving rise to further opportunities for growth. In particular, the Directors believe that following the proposed acquisition, Bett and CWIEME will benefit from the leveraging of ITE’s wider geographic footprint and existing infrastructure, providing geo-cloning opportunities.

Outlook
The TAG programme is delivering early benefits with improved financial performance from our Core events delivering like-for-like volume, revenue and headline PBT growth for the first time in four years.

Cash conversion remains strong and the Group enters the second half with high visibility of revenues having contracted £144m of revenue for the current financial year as at 11 May 2018, representing circa 89% of market expectations for the full year.  As a result of our focus on forward bookings, the Group has also already contracted £31m of forward bookings for FY2019, representing 19% of consensus revenue. This is up 31% on a like-for-like basis and the improved level of bookings partly reflects the Group’s focused sales initiatives on Core events, in line with its strategy.

The like-for-like growth and cash conversion have allowed management to invest £1.5m more in future period events than at this stage last year.

The combination of good progress on TAG and the proposed acquisition of Ascential Events Limited - a portfolio of market leading products that the management of ITE have known for a long time and that fit well with our strategy means that ITE is taking significant steps towards realising its vision of creating the world’s leading portfolio of content-driven, must-attend events that deliver an outstanding experience and ROI for our customers.



Mark Shashoua
Chief Executive Officer

>Download Interim Report (PDF)
> Download full statement (PDF)
> Interim results and acquisition update presentation (PDF)
> Video: Interim results and acquisition update (video)
15/05/2018 07:03:00 Video: Interim Results 2018 & Acquisition Update

ITE Group's Chief Executive Officer, Mark Shashoua, discusses today's interim results announcement & the proposed acquisition of Ascential Events


15/05/2018 07:02:00 Proposed £300 million Acquisition of Ascential Events

ITE today announces that it has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire Ascential Events Limited from Ascential plc, based on an enterprise value of £300 million.



THIS ANNOUNCEMENT CONTAINS INSIDE INFORMATION FOR THE PURPOSES OF ARTICLE 7 OF EU REGULATION 596/2014.

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT A PROSPECTUS AND THIS ANNOUNCEMENT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE OR FORM PART OF, AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS, ANY OFFER, INVITATION OR RECOMMENDATION TO PURCHASE, SELL OR SUBSCRIBE FOR ANY SECURITIES IN ANY JURISDICTION AND NEITHER THE ISSUE OF THE INFORMATION NOR ANYTHING CONTAINED IN THIS ANNOUNCEMENT SHALL FORM THE BASIS OF OR BE RELIED ON IN CONNECTION WITH, OR ACT AS AN INDUCEMENT TO ENTER INTO, ANY INVESTMENT ACTIVITY. ANY DECISIONS TO PURCHASE, SUBSCRIBE FOR, OTHERWISE ACQUIRE, SELL OR OTHERWISE DISPOSE OF ANY SECURITIES MUST BE MADE ONLY ON THE BASIS OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN AND INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE INTO THE COMBINED CIRCULAR AND PROSPECTUS ONCE PUBLISHED.

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT AND THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS RESTRICTED AND IS NOT FOR PUBLICATION, RELEASE OR DISTRIBUTION, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN OR INTO THE UNITED STATES, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, JAPAN, SOUTH AFRICA OR ANY OTHER JURISDICTION IN WHICH IT WOULD BE UNLAWFUL TO DO SO. PLEASE SEE THE IMPORTANT NOTICE AT THE END OF THIS ANNOUNCEMENT.


ITE Group plc

Proposed £300 million acquisition of the Ascential Exhibitions Business
and fully underwritten rights issue

Summary

  • ITE Group plc today announces that it has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire Ascential Events Limited from Ascential plc, based on an enterprise value of £300 million (calculated on a cash-free debt-free basis and subject to normalised working capital).

  • The Ascential Exhibitions Business, which organises market-leading exhibitions that bring business communities together to connect and trade, includes two global industry-leading exhibitions brands, Bett and CWIEME, and a number of market-leading UK exhibitions brands such as the Spring and Autumn Fairs and Pure. In the financial year ended 31 December 2017, these brands generated revenues of £77.5 million and EBITDA of £24.0 million.

  • The Directors believe that the Ascential Exhibitions Business is an attractive, high-quality portfolio of ‘must-attend’ exhibitions. The Acquisition aligns with ITE’s continuing TAG Programme and specifically its strategy of making product-led acquisitions of scalable events brands which are seen as offering strong growth potential under ITE’s ownership.

  • The Acquisition will diversify ITE’s exposure to some end-market verticals such as education technology and coil winding, electric motor and transformer manufacturing technologies that the Directors believe are attractive and supported by structural growth drivers, creating a more balanced portfolio of events in the Enlarged Group.

  • The Acquisition will also diversify ITE’s geographic footprint, giving rise to further opportunities for growth. In particular, the Directors believe that following the Acquisition, Bett and CWIEME will benefit from the leveraging of ITE’s wider geographic footprint and existing infrastructure, providing geo-cloning opportunities.

  • Attractive financial effects of the Acquisition:
    • Expected to be earnings enhancing in the first full year following Completion (FY2019)
    • The Directors expect to be able to maintain ITE’s existing dividend policy following Completion
    • Net debt / pro-forma 2017A EBITDA within target range of 1.5x – 2x

  • The Directors estimate that, following Completion, the Enlarged Group will be able to achieve annualised pre-tax gross cost synergies of £4 million - £5 million by implementing an integration plan that seeks to eliminate cost duplication, generate cost savings from economies of scale and drive operational efficiencies in the Ascential Exhibitions Business.

  • The Directors intend to re-invest £2 million - £2.5 million from FY2019, designed to drive additional revenue growth from FY2020 in part to realise a number of incremental revenue opportunities that are expected to arise as a result of the Acquisition. These include building the existing geo-clones to scale, additional geo-cloning of events into markets where ITE already has a local platform and where relevant, the cross-selling of events. In addition, further focus and investment will be made into visitor marketing to improve retention and customer ROI.

  • The Acquisition and related expenses are expected to be funded by the proceeds of a fully underwritten rights issue by ITE, which will raise up to approximately £315 million (before expenses). With respect to this rights issue, the Company has entered into a standby underwriting agreement with Investec Bank plc pending launch of the rights issue and publication of the combined circular and prospectus. Numis Securities Limited is expected to underwrite the Rights Issue with Investec Bank plc in due course.

  • The Company also intends to raise approximately £50 million through amending its existing debt facilities, which would allow it to reduce the Rights Issue to approximately £265 million (before expenses).

  • The Acquisition is a Class 1 transaction for ITE under the Listing Rules and is therefore conditional, inter alia, upon the approval by Shareholders. The Directors intend to unanimously recommend that ITE shareholders vote in favour of the resolutions to approve the Acquisition and to authorise ITE to proceed with the Rights Issue.

  • The Directors intend to take up their entitlements under the Rights Issue in full.

  • ITE expects to publish a combined circular and prospectus in connection with the Acquisition and the Rights Issue, including the notice of General Meeting in early June 2018. Subject to the satisfaction of the conditions to the Acquisition, Completion is expected to occur in July 2018.


Commenting on the Acquisition, Mark Shashoua, Chief Executive Officer of ITE, said:

“Today, we have announced an agreement to acquire a highly complementary portfolio of exhibitions from Ascential. Each show is market-leading and two are truly global. This acquisition accelerates our strategy of becoming product-led and building a portfolio of content-driven, must-attend events regardless of geography.

A number of our senior management team, including myself, know these assets extremely well and see a clear opportunity to drive cost synergies, and provide the investment, operational rigour and international platform required to drive growth. We expect the acquisition to be earnings enhancing during FY2019, our first full financial year of ownership, and our Board unanimously considers the acquisition and the rights issue to be in the best interests of ITE and its shareholders.”


This summary should be read in conjunction with the full text of this announcement. Terms defined in this summary have the same meaning when used in the full text of this announcement.

Enquiries:

ITE
Mark Shashoua, Chief Executive Officer
Andrew Beach, Chief Financial Officer
Melissa McVeigh, Director of Communications
+44 (0) 20 7596 5017
Investec
(Sponsor, Financial Adviser, Joint Broker, Joint Bookrunner and Lead Underwriter)
Corporate Finance: Andrew Pinder, Junya Iwamoto, David Anderson
Corporate Broking: Sara Hale, Chris Sim, Neil Coleman
+44 (0) 20 7597 5970
Numis
(Joint Broker, Joint Bookrunner and Joint Underwriter)
Nick Westlake
Christopher Wilkinson
Toby Adcock
Hugo Rubinstein
+44 (0) 20 7260 1000
FTI Consulting
(Financial PR)
Charles Palmer
Emma Hall
 +44 (0) 20 3727 1000


1. Introduction

The Company today announces that it has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Ascential Events Limited, which owns and operates the Ascential Exhibitions Business, based on an enterprise value of £300 million. In addition, the Company announces that it has entered into the Standby Underwriting Letter under which Investec has conditionally agreed to underwrite a rights issue by the Company to raise approximately £315 million (before expenses). Numis is also expected to underwrite the Rights Issue with Investec in due course.

The Target is the holding company of the Ascential Exhibitions Business, which organises market-leading exhibitions that bring business communities together to connect and trade. The Ascential Exhibitions Business includes two global industry-leading exhibitions brands, Bett and CWIEME, and a number of market-leading UK exhibitions brands such as the Spring and Autumn Fairs and Pure.

The Directors believe the Ascential Exhibitions Business is an attractive, high-quality portfolio of ‘must-attend’ exhibitions. The acquisition of the Ascential Exhibitions Business aligns with ITE’s TAG Programme and specifically its strategy of making product-led acquisitions of scalable events brands which the Directors believe offer strong growth potential under ITE’s ownership. The Acquisition will diversify ITE’s exposure to end-market verticals, creating a more balanced portfolio of events in the Enlarged Group, by adding market-leading events in a number of industry verticals including: education technology; coil winding, electric motor and transformer manufacturing technologies; home and gift; fashion and retail; broadcast and video; and gardening and outdoor living. The Acquisition will also diversify ITE’s geographic footprint, giving rise to further opportunities for growth. In particular, the Directors believe that following the Acquisition, Bett and CWIEME will benefit from leveraging ITE’s wider geographic footprint and existing infrastructure, providing geo-cloning opportunities.

The Acquisition, because of its size in relation to the Company, is a Class 1 transaction for ITE under the Listing Rules and is therefore conditional, inter alia, upon the approval by Shareholders.

The Company also announces today that it is in discussions with a view to increasing the size of its existing banking facilities such that it would be able to draw down £50 million from its debt facility to part fund the Acquisition, which would reduce the required size of the Rights Issue to £265 million. These arrangements are expected to be concluded by the time the Combined Circular and Prospectus is published and Rights Issue is formally launched.

The Board unanimously considers the Acquisition and the Rights Issue to be in the best interests of ITE and its Shareholders as a whole.

2. Background to and strategic rationale for the Acquisition

The ITE Group is a leading organiser of international trade exhibitions and conferences, specialising in organising ‘must-attend’ events that help to connect attendees to their target audiences around the world, making them the premier events in which to participate. Exhibitors use the ITE Group’s exhibitions and conferences as sales and marketing events, where they interact with visitors, promote new and existing products, generate leads and ultimately make sales, with the events acting as an industry platform bringing a business community together under one roof.

The ITE Group serves its communities of exhibitors, sponsors and delegates by helping them connect with and learn from their contemporaries and industry experts, and by creating and providing access to content that helps people and businesses make more informed decisions. The ITE Group organises over 200 exhibitions and conferences each year, many of which are market-leading events and well-known brands in key industry sectors, and is structured into five operating divisions based on: geographic location, being Asia, Central Asia, Eastern & Southern Europe, and Russia; and a brands division (“Brands”), a portfolio of international events brands.

In 2017, the ITE Group embarked upon a targeted and clear strategy: the TAG Programme. As reported in its results for the year ended 30 September 2017, good progress has been made on the TAG Programme, with operational and financial momentum leading to improved trading trends across the business. This operational and financial progress has continued through the first half of the 2018 financial year, as reported in its results for the six months ended 31 March 2018 announced earlier today.

2.1 ITE’s strategy – the TAG Programme

At the start of 2017, the ITE Group undertook a thorough and detailed review of its business, which included reviews by product, geography, structures, systems, sales, marketing, IT and finance. The outputs of this review, unveiled in May 2017, resulted in an evolved strategy and the introduction of the three year TAG Programme.

At the Group’s strategy update in May 2017, a new vision was announced: “To create the world’s leading portfolio of content-driven, must-attend events delivering an outstanding experience and ROI for our customers”.

The Group’s aim is to organise and run market-leading events by focusing on the needs of exhibitors and visitors and having a product-led strategy. To deliver this aim, the TAG Programme is being implemented across the Group and comprises three pillars:

a) create a scalable platform to generate real organic growth;
b) actively manage ITE’s portfolio; and
c) make selective product-led acquisitions.

a) Create a scalable platform to generate real organic growth

The Group is moving to a centralised and product-led model because the evolution of customer expectations means that local markets now expect events to be of a standard, international quality. Furthermore, global multinationals are starting to choose a single events company to exhibit with, that caters for them globally as a one-stop shop that is able to deliver a consistently high standard of service everywhere.

TAG Programme investments related to creating a scalable platform are spread across five areas: to create best practice functions and teams; invest in show operations; build capability and talent; drive a performance culture; and build and maintain fit for purpose IT infrastructure and systems.

b) Actively manage ITE’s portfolio

The Group has segmented its business into “Core” and “Non-Core” events to enable ITE management to increase its focus on events that are considered to present the greatest opportunities, whilst reducing distraction from others.

The Core events are those that the Directors believe are of strategic importance to the Group’s future, including the Group’s largest events and those with the greatest potential for growth. The Non-Core events consist of smaller shows which the Directors believe have less potential for growth.

As part of the Group’s strategy, a top priority remains to apply TAG Programme investments to its Core events, to realise their full potential. This strategy includes investing in content to drive greater customer experience for exhibitors and visitors, and improved customer retention.

The Group’s international sales teams have focused on ITE’s Core events and this has contributed to strong revenue growth from Core events as evidenced by combined double digit like-for-like revenue growth delivered from four of its top 10 events (by revenue) which occurred during the six months ended 31 March 2018.

During the year ended 30 September 2017, the Group discontinued 37 Non-Core events, with a further 22 discontinued in the six months ended 31 March 2018. On 24 April 2018, the Group also announced the disposal of TradeLink ITE Sdn. Bhd., owner of the Metaltech exhibition in Malaysia for £4.2 million, as a continuation of this pillar of the TAG Programme.

In line with its product-led strategy, the Group plans to continue to proactively review its portfolio on an ongoing basis.

c) Selective product-led acquisitions

The Group’s strategy includes making selective product-led, not geography-led, acquisitions that will be assessed on the following criteria:
  • Scalability – in sectors with high growth potential
  • A distinct customer value proposition – serving a clear part of an industry sector
  • Position in attractive markets for events serving a high growth underlying market
  • Evidence of strong organic revenue growth and profit margins
  • Potential to roll out internationally – dependent on the product
  • Earnings accretive – offering a good return on invested capital

The Directors believe the Acquisition fulfils these criteria.

2.2 The Acquisition and key benefits

The Directors believe that the strategic rationale for the Acquisition is compelling and in strong alignment with the TAG Programme.

The key rationales for, and benefits of, the Acquisition include:

The Ascential Exhibitions Business is a high-quality, product-led portfolio with global brands

The Ascential Exhibitions Business includes two global industry-leading events brands, Bett and CWIEME, and a number of market-leading UK events brands such as the Spring and Autumn Fairs and Pure.

Bett is the leading education technology series of global events and leadership summits. CWIEME is the leading global event for coil winding, electric motor and transformer manufacturing technologies. Spring and Autumn Fairs are the UK’s leading home and gift shows for the retail industry. Pure is London’s leading fashion trade show.

Bett and CWIEME are industry-leading global brands serving markets which the Directors believe are attractive end markets supported by structural growth drivers. Under ITE’s ownership, they are expected to benefit from exploiting ITE’s diversified geographic footprint and international infrastructure, better addressing existing customer demand which is currently unfulfilled.

Spring and Autumn Fairs, Pure and the other UK events brands being acquired are market leading, profitable and cash generative. Under ITE’s ownership, the Directors believe the events will benefit from dedicated management focus.

Strong growth potential of the Ascential Exhibitions Business under ITE’s management

The ITE CEO, Mark Shashoua, and COO, John Gulliver, will lead the integration and growth of the Enlarged Group after Completion. The ITE management team has a strong track record in the exhibitions and events market, Mark and John having previously held the positions of CEO and CFO of the Ascential Exhibitions Business respectively until early 2016.

The Directors believe the Ascential Exhibitions Business would have strong growth potential under ITE’s ownership because: (i) of Mark and John’s previous positions as CEO and CFO (respectively) until early 2016 providing them good insight into how to drive growth across the acquired events portfolio; (ii) given the scale of the Ascential Exhibitions Business brands, they will all form part of, and be managed as, Core events within ITE, receiving dedicated management focus and attention; and (iii) the ITE management team’s experience of, knowledge of and focus on the events industry.

In particular, for Spring and Autumn Fairs, Pure and the other UK events brands being acquired, ITE intends to refresh these events through focussing on delivering greater exhibitor return on investment, re-design of the event space and restructuring of the sales strategy.

The Directors believe that the ITE management team can create value and returns in the Enlarged Group by improving the customer experience, which is expected to result in exhibitor, attendance and yield growth.

The Directors believe that the Enlarged Group will be able to accrue considerable additional benefits from the sharing of best practice between ITE and the Ascential Exhibitions Business. Management intends to implement its best practices in the Enlarged Group as it believes there are opportunities to grow both its immature and mature events, if best practices are shared.

Operating synergies

ITE intends to implement an integration plan that seeks to eliminate cost duplication, generate cost savings from economies of scale and drive operational efficiencies in the Ascential Exhibitions Business.

In addition, ITE has identified a number of incremental revenue opportunities that are expected to arise as a result of the Acquisition, including cross-selling of sponsorship opportunities across the ITE events portfolio, customer cross-marketing of events, and geo-cloning of exhibition brands.

Delivering an enlarged ITE with a more diverse portfolio

As part of the TAG Programme, ITE has been focused on migrating from being a geographically structured business with strengths in emerging markets, to one that is product-led, with strong regional platforms. The Acquisition will diversify ITE’s business across geographic, currency and end-market vertical exposures.

As a result of the Acquisition, ITE’s portfolio will be significantly strengthened through the integration of the Ascential Exhibitions Business, by adding market-leading events in a number of industry verticals including: education technology; coil winding, electric motor and transformer manufacturing technologies; home and gift; fashion and retail; broadcast and video; and gardening and outdoor living.

The Ascential Exhibitions Business’ portfolio of seven events brands, combined with ITE’s over 200 events will position ITE as one of the largest owner/operators in the business-to-business face-to-face media segment. Within this, it will become one of the largest operators of exhibitions globally, according to data from AMR International. The Directors believe that the global market for exhibitions and events remains a highly attractive growth market, with AMR International estimating that the industry was worth $26.1 billion in 2017, with forecast growth at an annualised rate of 4.2 per cent. between 2016 and 2021, subject to regional variations.

Offers attractive financial returns

When making the decision to pursue the Acquisition, the ITE Directors considered a number of factors, which included the Ascential Exhibitions Business’ profitability margins, availability of realisable operating synergies, and the revenue growth opportunities realisable by ITE under its ownership.

The Acquisition will also reduce ITE’s exposure to Russia-based revenue, with the proportion of revenue from Russia reducing on a pro-forma basis  from approximately 47 per cent. to 31 per cent.

The Directors believe the Acquisition will be earnings enhancing in the first full financial year (ending 30 September 2019) following Completion.

3. Summary information on ITE Group

ITE Group was established in 1991 when it first held a series of trade exhibitions in Russia in key sectors of the economy, and through growth, acquisition and different phases of development, has become a leading organiser of international trade exhibitions and conferences.

The ITE Group specialises in organising events that help to connect attendees to their target audiences around the world. Exhibitors use the ITE Group’s exhibitions and conferences as sales and marketing events, where they interact with visitors, promote new and existing products, generate leads and ultimately make sales, with the events acting as an industry platform bringing a business community together under one roof.

The ITE Group serves its communities of exhibitors, sponsors and delegates by helping them connect with and learn from their contemporaries and industry experts, and by creating and providing access to content that helps people and businesses make more informed decisions. The ITE Group organises over 200 exhibitions and conferences each year, many of which are market-leading events and well-known brands in key industry sectors, and is structured into five operating divisions based on: geographic location, being Asia, Central Asia, Eastern & Southern Europe, and Russia; and Brands, a portfolio of international events brands.

ITE is currently the ninth largest conference and exhibition organiser by revenue, and has strong market positions in a number of emerging markets.

In FY2017, the ITE Group generated total revenues of £152.6 million and headline profit before tax of £31.6 million.

With its headquarters in London, the ITE Group employs 1,383 people across its 30 offices globally.

4. Summary information on the Ascential Exhibitions Business

The Ascential Exhibitions Business organises market-leading exhibitions that bring business communities together to connect and trade, with the events brands being Bett (including and The Education Show), CWIEME, the Spring and Autumn Fairs, Pure, Glee and BVE.

The Ascential Exhibitions Business operates within Ascential’s Exhibitions and Festivals division, which includes additional brands such as Cannes Lions and Money20/20 that are not being acquired as part of the Acquisition.

Bett is the leading educational technology series of global events and leadership summits. CWIEME is the leading global event for coil winding, electric motor and transformer manufacturing technologies. The Spring and Autumn Fairs are two of the UK’s leading home and gift shows for the retail industry. Pure is London’s leading fashion trade show.

In FY2017, the Ascential Exhibitions Business generated total revenues of £77.5 million and Adjusted EBITDA of £24.0 million  after removing results of events not being acquired, discontinued event revenue and profit, and on a constant currency basis.

With its headquarters in London, the Ascential Exhibitions Business employs 197 people across its four offices globally.

In FY2017, Ascential Events Limited, the holding company of the Ascential Exhibitions Business, generated Adjusted EBITDA of £23.1 million and had gross assets of approximately £58 million as at 31 December 2017.

5. Financial effects of the Acquisition

Cost savings and integration

The Directors estimate that, following Completion, the Enlarged Group will be able to achieve annualised pre-tax gross cost synergies of £4 million - £5 million by implementing an integration plan that seeks to eliminate cost duplication, generate cost savings from economies of scale and drive operational efficiencies in the Ascential Exhibitions Business.

The Directors intend to re-invest £2 million - £2.5 million from 2019, designed to drive additional revenue growth from FY2020 in part to realise a number of incremental revenue opportunities that are expected to arise as a result of the Acquisition. These include building the existing geo-clones to scale, additional geo-cloning of events into markets where ITE already has a local platform and where relevant, the cross-selling of events. In addition, further focus and investment will be made into visitor marketing to improve retention and customer ROI.

ITE has, together with its advisers, conducted due diligence on the Ascential Exhibitions Business, including having discussions with senior management, all of which has supplemented ITE’s existing knowledge of the Ascential Exhibitions Business. This diligence process coupled with ITE’s prior knowledge of the Ascential Exhibitions Business has enabled the ITE executive team to prepare their integration plan.

Leverage

The Company intends to raise approximately £50 million through amending its existing debt facility at the same pricing as ITE’s existing debt facility, which would allow it to reduce the Rights Issue to approximately £265 million.

Following Completion, and assuming the Rights Issue had completed and the amended bank facilities were fully drawn, the pro forma leverage as at 30 September 2017 for the Enlarged Group would have been within ITE’s stated target range of 1.5x to 2x EBITDA . The ITE Directors are expecting to be able to deleverage the business further during the year ending 30 September 2019.

6. ITE current trading and prospects

ITE has today published its interim results for the six months ended 31 March 2018.

Mark Shashoua, Chief Executive Officer, made the following comments in relation to the Company’s current trading and prospects:

“The TAG programme is delivering early benefits with improved financial performance from our Core events delivering like-for-like volume, revenue and headline PBT growth for the first time in four years.

Cash conversion remains strong and the Group enters the second half with high visibility of revenues having contracted £144m of revenue for the current financial year as at 11 May 2018, representing circa 89% of market expectations for the full year. As a result of our focus on forward bookings, the Group has also already contracted £31m of forward bookings for FY2019, representing 19% of consensus revenue. This is up 31% on a like-for-like basis and the improved level of bookings partly reflects the Group’s focused sales initiatives on Core events, in line with its strategy.

The like-for-like growth and cash conversion have allowed management to invest £1.5m more in future period events than at this stage last year.

The combination of good progress on TAG and the proposed acquisition of Ascential Events Limited - a portfolio of market leading products that the management of ITE have known for a long time and that fit well with our strategy means that ITE is taking significant steps towards realising its vision of creating the world’s leading portfolio of content-driven, must-attend events that deliver an outstanding experience and ROI for our customers.”


ITE continues to perform in line with the Board's expectations and the Board is confident of the financial and trading prospects of the Company for the current financial year.

7. Principal terms of the Acquisition

Under the terms of the Sale and Purchase Agreement, which is dated today, ITE Enterprises Limited (a subsidiary of the Company) has agreed to acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of the Target, the holding company for the Ascential Exhibitions Business based on an enterprise value (calculated on a cash-free debt-free basis and subject to normalised working capital) of £300 million. The consideration, which is payable in cash, will be adjusted, as required, following completion of Acquisition based on a completion accounts mechanism. The Acquisition is a Class 1 transaction for each of ITE and Ascential under Listing Rule 10.

The Acquisition is conditional, inter alia, upon obtaining the approval of Shareholders and of Ascential’s shareholders, the Standby Underwriting Letter or the underwriting agreement to be entered into in connection with the Rights Issue (and replacing the Standby Underwriting Letter), as the case may be, having become unconditional and not having been terminated, the Combined Circular and Prospectus being published and the new ordinary Shares to be issued under the Rights Issue being admitted to listing on the premium segment of the Official List and to trading on the London Stock Exchange’s main market for listed securities. The Sale and Purchase Agreement is terminable in certain circumstances, including in the event that the conditions are not satisfied by 13 June 2018, the Combined Circular and Prospectus has not been published by 13 June 2018, Ascential has not published its circular to its shareholders under Listing Rule 10 by 31 July 2018, the Standby Underwriting Letter or subsequent underwriting agreement is terminated, there is a material breach of the warranties given by the seller under the Sale and Purchase Agreement or there is material adverse change affecting the Ascential Exhibitions Business.

Under the Sale and Purchase Agreement, both the seller and the buyer have agree to pay a break fee to the other in certain circumstances, including in the event that the required shareholder approvals are not obtained or, in the case of ITE, the Standby Underwriting Agreement or subsequent underwriting agreement are terminated or fails to become unconditional. The obligations of ITE Enterprises Limited under the Sale and Purchase Agreement are guaranteed by the Company.

8. Principal terms of the Rights Issue

With respect to the Rights Issue, ITE has entered into the Standby Underwriting Letter. The Standby Underwriting Letter envisages a nominal value underwriting under which the number of new ordinary shares in the capital of ITE to be issued will be set by reference to an issue price to be agreed by ITE and Investec prior to publication of the Combined Circular and Prospectus. If the parties cannot agree, the appropriate number of shares will be issued at nominal value in order to achieve the desired fundraising amount. The Standby Underwriting Letter contains customary representations and warranties, undertakings, conditions and termination rights.

It is intended that prior to the Combined Circular and Prospectus being published, ITE will enter into an underwriting agreement with the Underwriters under which the Underwriters will underwrite the Rights Issue which is expected to raise approximately £265 million (on the basis that the Company's existing debt facilities are increased to allow £50m to be drawn down under the Group's debt facilities to part fund the Acquisition). If entered into, that underwriting agreement would replace the Standby Underwriting Letter.

The Rights Issue will not be conditional on completion of the Acquisition. If the Rights Issue were to proceed but the Acquisition does not complete the Directors’ current intention is that the proceeds of the Rights Issue will be applied to reducing the Company’s net indebtedness on a short-term basis while the Directors evaluate alternative uses of the funds. If no such uses can be found, the Directors will consider how best to return all or part of the proceeds to Shareholders. Such a return could carry fiscal costs for certain Shareholders, will have costs for ITE and would be subject to applicable securities laws.

9. Dividends

For FY2017, ITE paid a dividend of 4.0 pence per share (2016: 4.5 pence per share). For the six month period ended 31 March 2018, ITE has declared an interim dividend of 1.5 pence per share (2017: 1.5 pence per share).

The Directors understand the importance of dividend payments to Shareholders and intend to maintain ITE’s existing policy of declaring dividends at a coverage ratio of more than 2x headline earnings per share, subject to the Company having sufficient distributable reserves and cash available for this purpose.

10. Expected timetable to Completion

The Combined Circular and Prospectus containing further details on the Acquisition and Rights Issue, the Directors’ recommendation, the terms of the Rights Issue, the notice of General Meeting and the Resolutions is expected to be published in early June 2018. Subject to satisfaction of the conditions to the Acquisition, Completion is expected to occur in July 2018.

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04/04/2018 07:00:00 Trading Update

ITE is today publishing a trading update ahead of its interim results for the six months ended 31 March 2018, which will be announced on Tuesday 15 May 2018.


ITE is today publishing a trading update ahead of its interim results for the six months ended 31 March 2018, which will be announced on Tuesday 15 May 2018.

Trading update
The Group's performance in this period was in line with management expectations.

Revenue for the period will be circa £75m (six months to 31 March 2017: £70m). The increase is largely due to underlying trading improvements and the benefit of biennials and event timing, offset by the proactive cancellation of less profitable events and the impact of foreign exchange.

On a like-for-like basis revenues for the six months are 8% higher than the comparative period. Four Top 10 events ran in the period, collectively delivering double digit like-for-like revenue growth. This continues the double digit growth in Top 10 events in the previous financial year and reinforces our strategy of focusing on core market-leading events.

Financial position
The Group’s balance sheet and operational cash flows remain strong. Net debt is circa £52m (31 March 2017: £55m) reflecting continuing strong operational cash conversion and planned TAG investment in the period.

TAG programme update
We announced the TAG programme nearly a year ago and we continue to progress according to plan. The TAG Programme comprises of three pillars of strategic activity to accelerate growth, namely creating a scalable platform, managing the portfolio and making product-led acquisitions.

We have recruited the best practice teams and started to implement the ‘ITE way’ to increase the scalability of our platform. We have also rolled out seven best practice initiatives following the launch of our ‘Events Best Practice’ blueprints.

The Group is managing its portfolio by implementing a more rigorous approach to the allocation of capital. During the period we discontinued 22 less profitable events as we continue to focus on our core events.

The Group will also look to make selective product-led acquisitions to accelerate growth in line with strict M&A criteria and we have a strong acquisitions pipeline.

Outlook
As at 29 March 2018, the Group had booked circa £137m of revenue for the 2018 financial year (31 March 2017: £128m) representing 85% of market expectations for the full year. On a like-for-like basis, these revenues are 14% ahead of this time last year and on a volume basis are 5% ahead reflecting the impact of earlier bookings and ITE’s focus on core events following the launch of the early TAG initiatives.

With TAG well underway, ITE is making good progress towards realising its vision of creating the world’s leading portfolio of content-driven, must-attend events that deliver an outstanding experience and ROI for our customers.

The Board is pleased with performance to date and is confident in full year expectations.

Notes
Like-for-like results are stated on a constant currency basis, after excluding events which took place in the current period but did not take place under our ownership in the comparative period and after excluding events which took place in the comparative period but did not take place under our ownership in the current period. This excludes:
  • Biennial events;
  • Timing differences (i.e. events that ran in only one of the current or comparative periods, due to changes in the event dates);
  • Launches;
  • Cancelled or disposed of events that did not take place under our ownership in the current year;
  • Acquired events in the current period; and
  • Acquired events in the comparative period that didn't take place under our ownership in the comparative period (i.e. they took place pre-acquisition).


For further information please contact:

ITE Group plc
Melissa McVeigh, Director of Communications
+44 (0) 20 7596 5017
FTI Consulting
Charles Palmer/Emma Hall 
+44 (0)20 3727 1000

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