Fira de Barcelona generates more than 150 million euros in 2014 and establishes itself as a global operator

Fira de Barcelona expects to close 2014 with total revenues exceeding 150 million euros, substantially above the figures budgeted for this year and also attained in the years prior to the financial crisis. In fact, they are the best results achieved by the institution in its entire history. Its exhibitions’ premium positioning, its ability to diversify and innovate, and, above all, the fact that major congresses and corporate events have been held this year at its venues are the reasons behind this excellent performance, which has established itself as a global events organiser.

Fira de Barcelona’s primary focus areas were outlined today by its President Governing Board, Josep Lluís Bonet, and its CEO, Agustín Cordón, at the meeting of the General Council, presided by Xavier Trias, Mayor of Barcelona, who praised the admirable work done by the institution, which he defined as “one of the main driving forces of Barcelona’s economy and one of the most powerful platforms we have for showcasing the city’s assets to the world and attracting investment”.

The estimated turnover of 151.4 million euros is 25.8% above the budget and 28.5% more than 2013. Compared with 2012 (a comparable year as regards number of exhibitions), the increase is 31.4%. The forecast EBITDA is 19.6 million euros (the highest achieved to date by Fira de Barcelona), giving a 105% increase compared with 2013 and 78% compared with 2012.

Global operator
The president Governing Board of Fira de Barcelona, Josep Lluís Bonet, highlighted these “magnificent results”, given the current adverse economic climate, although “certain signs of improvement are beginning to emerge”, attributing them to successful implementation of a strategy focused on an efficient combination of financial sustainability, the generation of economic activity within the territory and promotion abroad. “Fira de Barcelona has consolidated its leadership in Spain and its position as a major player in Europe,” he continued.

Agustín Cordón, CEO of Fira de Barcelona, explained that the “exceptional” results achieved this year are not just the result of world-leading events, including Mobile World Congress and Alimentaria, but above all to the international congresses that have been organised, particularly in technological fields, some of which were only confirmed during the year and therefore, were not included in the initial budget. The improved attendance of some of the events organised by the institution has also been a contributing factor.

The technology congresses VM World Europa, SAP, HP ETSS Winter and Summer, and HP Discover or Microsoft TechEd and Convergence, the EWEA for the wind power industry, the European Cardiology Congress or the Pfizer Congress for the biomedical industry are just some of the events that have been organised during 2014 at Fira de Barcelona’s venues, fruit of the course charted by the institution some years ago to attract top-level events, particularly in technological and biomedical fields, which this year have been attended by around 100,000 professionals.

Fira de Barcelona’s strategy is anchored on promoting its home-grown exhibitions – with a high proportion of professional exhibitions -, diversifying its activities – particularly in the areas of services and catering-, innovation, cost containment and increasing its international presence on two fronts: attracting leading events and “exporting” some of its exhibitions to other countries, packaging them with advisory and management services. “We can therefore say without doubt that Fira is becoming increasingly positioned as a global events operator,” Cordón concluded, after stressing that the institution “has adapted its organisation and refined its roadmap to face the challenges of a changing market where we compete with many other exhibition organisers and other types of organisation”.

An extensive variety of events
In 2014, the institution has hosted 62 exhibitions and congresses and more than 60 corporate, commercial and sports-related events, which were held at its Montjuïc and Gran Via venues. More than 1,000 different activities took place during the exhibitions organised by Fira de Barcelona. In addition to those mentioned earlier, other major exhibitions have been held, such as Smart City Expo World Congress, the Boat Show, Hostelco, Expoquimia, Barcelona Bridal Week, Tourism, Bizbarcelona, Seafood Expo Southern Europe, EIBTM, Seatrade Med or Passenger Terminal Expo, among others.

As part of its policy to propose new offerings aligned with social and economic demands, the following events have been held for the first time: Denim by Première Vision, focusing on denim fashion, Handmade, for handicrafts enthusiasts, and, at the end of December, XD Young Fest, as a parallel event to the Children’s Festival, focused on leisure and multimedia experiences for young people and teenagers.

Further steps in international expansion
The international strategy implemented by the institution a number of years ago continues to bear fruit, organising activities in other countries and boosting our presence abroad. Thus, Fira de Barcelona has co-organised the Motor and Jewellery Shows in Qatar with a local partner, it has assisted in organising Smart City in Kyoto, Alimentaria in Lisbon and Mexico, and managed attendance at Construmat Ficons (Brazil). It has also signed exhibition management consultancy services agreements in a number of countries, including Canada, Chile and Mongolia.

There are new projects abroad in the pipeline for next year, including the co-organisation of two new exhibitions in Qatar – Cosmetics and Children’s Festival -, a further edition of the Motor and Jewellery Shows, Smart City in Kyoto and Montreal, and Forum Santé, also in Montreal, as well as other projects that are being considered in various countries around the world.

Fira de Barcelona forecasts revenues in excess of 130 million euros in 2015, during which more than 60 exhibitions and congresses will be organised, such as the Motor Show, Mobile World Congress, Smart City Expo World Congress, the revamped Beyond Building Barcelona-Construmat, the Swimming Pool Show, Hispack and Bta., Graphispag, Barcelona Bridal Week, Pharmaprocess or Tissue World. In addition, although probably down from this year as they are roving events, it will continue to host high-profile events such as VM World or HP ETSS Winter and the European medical congresses on Gastroenterology (UEG Week) and Cataracts and Refractive Surgery. 4YFN, an event focused on entrepreneurs organised by Mobile World Capital Barcelona (MWCB), will also be held again next year.

Barcelona, 18th December 2014