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April 7, 2008

Reed to retain exhibitions amid talk of publishing division sell off

Revealing the difficulties that currently exist in the trade publishing sector compared to the events industry, the Anglo-Dutch company Reed Elsevier has announced plans to sell Reed Business Information, the business-to-business publishing division, while retaining Reed Exhibitions, recently shown to be performing strongly.

Commenting on the move, Reed Elsevier chief executive Crispin Davis said the decision was aimed at "reducing exposure to advertising markets and cyclicality", enabling the group to focus on its core business of "subscription-based information and workflow solutions".

The reason to retain Reed Exhibitions is clear, as the company recently revealed strong growth across its show portfolio, with particular success at the Mipim international property show in Cannes and the JCK jewellery show in Las Vegas. Profits were up 11%, which was held back by the cycling out of the contribution from biennial joint venture shows.

Reed Exhibitions has launched 30 new shows over the past year in sectors ranging from personal care to aerospace and from Argentina to China. The portfolio was also added to through the acquisition of a joint venture interest in Alcantara Machado, the leading show organiser in Brazil, and of a group of six international aerospace shows. Although far from the most popular part of the events industry, such activity indicates that talk of the demise of the exhibitions sector is wide of the mark.

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