- 2016 net income exceeds projected figure by over 60 percent
- 2017 on track for record revenues
- Wolfram von Fritsch hands over helm to Jochen Köckler
Hannover. Deutsche Messe AG is downsizing its Managing Board from four members to three. The decision was made by the company's Supervisory Board at its meeting on Monday at the Hannover Exhibition Center. The current Chairman of the Managing Board, Dr. Wolfram von Fritsch, will leave the company on the best of terms when his contract expires. He will hand over his leadership role to Dr. Jochen Köckler effective 30 June 2017. Köckler has been a member of the Managing Board of Deutsche Messe since 2012, with a range of responsibilities including executive responsibility for HANNOVER MESSE.
The meeting of the Supervisory Board had commenced with the presentation of the 2016 annual financial statements by the Managing Board. These show that the company achieved a net income of −3.7 million euros, which is significantly better than the −9.5 million originally projected for the year. It also stacks up well against the actual net income for the 2014 comparison year, which was −9.6 million euros. In terms of revenues, the company achieved 302.3 million euros, which is marginally below the 304.7 million target for the year but still 21.7 million euros, or 7.7 percent, higher than the revenues achieved in the 2014 comparison year. For 2017 as a special anniversary year, Deutsche Messe is projecting a net income of 6.1 million euros based on revenues of 352.5 million euros – the best revenue performance in the company's 70-year history. Turning to the outlook for 2018, Dr. von Fritsch commented: "It looks like 2018 is shaping up to be the first even-numbered year in which the company will turn a profit since the EXPO year of 2000."
Olaf Lies, Chairman of the Deutsch Messe Supervisory Board and Minister for Economics, Labor and Transport for the German state of Lower Saxony, remarked: "We sincerely thank Wolfram von Fritsch for his outstanding work over the years. He took over the leadership of Deutsche Messe at a difficult time in its history. By having the courage to make tough decisions, not all of them popular, he has been instrumental in turning the company around. Deutsche Messe is once again on a solid financial footing and is a key driver of economic growth here in the state of Lower Saxony."
In reflecting on his successful time as Chairman of the Managing Board, von Fritsch commented: "Working for Deutsche Messe has been a tremendous pleasure for me. Together, we have continued to enhance and grow our already strong tradeshow brands and have launched and established new events here in Hannover and around the world. We have also laid the groundwork for the ongoing digitalization of our organization. As I now pass the baton on to my valued colleague Jochen Köckler, with whom I have enjoyed a very fruitful working relationship on the Managing Board for a number of years, I do so with the best of wishes for continued success."
For his part, Köckler concurred with his predecessor's assessment of the company and its achievements. "By teaming up over the past several years we have restored Deutsche Messe to prosperity. With such solid ground to stand on, my Managing Board colleagues and I will now concentrate on moving the company forward in alignment with our chosen strategy."
The Supervisory Board voted to extend for a further five years the contracts of the two other Managing Board members, Dr. Andreas Gruchow and Oliver Frese, when they come up for renewal in 2018.
In another key agenda item, the Managing Board presented its business strategy for the period from 2018 to 2021. The strategy represents the final phase of a three-phase strategic realignment program that was launched in 2009. The strategy's objectives are to continue to grow Deutsche Messe faster than the market average, to push ahead with the globalization of the company, and to make even greater use of the opportunities afforded by digitalization. The Supervisory Board has formally adopted the strategy as presented.
"As the world's leading producer of capital-goods trade fairs, we are in an outstanding position to achieve further growth in our foreign tradeshow business," remarked von Fritsch. "And by systematically modernizing the Hannover Exhibition Center, itself, the company is giving a major leg up to the flagship trade fairs held here at our home base." Deutsche Messe is a pioneer of digitalization in the trade fair industry. It makes greater use of digital technology than other operators, for example by using beacon technology to help visitors to find exhibitors of special interest to them thanks to location-based information beamed straight to their smart devices as they approach. The company also makes extensive use of digitalization to help visitors and exhibitors prepare for and follow up after each trade fair. For instance, exhibitors and visitors alike can benefit from the highly targeted matchmaking made possible by Deutsche Messe's extensive customer databases. Deutsche Messe also leverages the power of digitalization in in-company processes: "Making intelligent use of digitalization is the key to remaining competitive and opening up new market opportunities," commented von Fritsch.