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Revenue 707 577 +23% +9%
Adjusted operating profit 183 139 +32% +14%
Adjusted operating margin 25.9% 24.1% +1.8pts +1.1pts

Reed Exhibitions had an exceptional year with successful major shows and the net cycling in of biennial exhibitions, demonstrating that, in an increasingly online world, “face to face” exhibitions continue to deliver significant value for exhibitors and visitors alike.

Revenues were up 11% at constant currencies and adjusted operating profits up 20% before acquisitions and disposals. The strong growth was driven by good performances by annual shows and new events, together with the cycling in of non-annual shows. Excluding cycling effects, underlying revenue growth was 5%. The adjusted operating margin showed underlying improvement of 180 basis points reflecting the good revenue growth, tight cost control and the effect of the significant net cycling in at the show contribution level.

Reported revenues and adjusted operating profits were up 9% and 14% respectively at constant rates including acquisitions and disposals, most notably the sale of the defence sector shows. Overall adjusted operating margin was up 180 basis points at 25.9%.

Good growth was seen across most of the show portfolio with particular successes at the ISC West security show and National Hardware in the US; the Interclima Interconfort heating/cooling systems show and the Equip’Hotel catering show in Paris, and the Pollutec Lyon environment event; the Aluminium show in Germany; the Mipim international property show and Mipcom in Cannes; and the London International Book Fair and World Travel Market in London. The severe downturn in the Spanish residential property sector did however significantly reduce the size of the SIMA residential property show in Madrid. In Japan, M-Tech and other shows performed strongly. The biennial shows cycling in contributed 6% to underlying revenue growth; the most significant show cycling in was the Mostra Convegno Expocomfort show in Milan and cycling out was the Batimat construction show in Paris.

During the year Reed Exhibitions launched 24 new shows including the very successful Photovoltaic Power Generation event in Tokyo, and acquired nine others, expanding its footprint in the Middle East, Russia, India and China. The sale of the defence shows was completed in May 2008. This will further exaggerate the year-on-year impact of show cycling in 2009 and beyond with no ‘odd’ year DSEi show to help balance the ‘even’ year benefit of Mostra Convegno and other biennial shows.

Reed Exhibitions’ strong performance in 2008 is in part reflective of the more resilient and late cycle nature of the exhibitions business, in comparison to other marketing channels. Exhibitors book hall space well in advance and in a downturn demand tends to concentrate on leading events. The second half saw continued good growth overall in annual shows and in cycling events, although some shows were cancelled and the outlook has become progressively tougher across geographies and most industries. Taking into account the budget pressures on exhibitors and visiting delegates, as well as the net cycling out of biennial shows and the sale of the defence shows, the 2009 outlook is for revenue decline and lower adjusted operating margin against an exceptional year in 2008. Whilst it is too early to judge the economic outlook and demand beyond, 2010 will see the cycling back in of major biennial shows with a positive boost to revenues and margin.