UBM plc acquires Ecobuild for up to £51 million

UBM plc today announces it has acquired International Business Events Limited – owner of the Ecobuild exhibition business – from its private owners for an initial cash payment of £31 million and a further performance-based cash consideration of up to £20 million payable over the next 12 months. UBM has acquired the business on behalf of its UBM Built Environment division.

Ecobuild (www.ecobuild.co.uk) is the world’s largest exhibition dedicated to sustainable building products and is the fastest-growing trade event in the UK. Launched in 2004, the exhibition is held annually in March at London’s Excel Centre. The number of professionals visiting the event has grown from 6,100 in 2006 to more than 55,000 in 2011, when the event occupied net floor space of 28,000m2.

In 2011 Ecobuild generated revenues of approximately £9.4 million, having grown 54% CAGR since 2007. This rapid expansion has been driven by the accelerating adoption of sustainable construction products and techniques, as well as the increasing focus on sustainability within the regulatory regimes for the UK and European construction industries. Strategy consultants AMR International forecast that the UK sustainable construction market will grow 30% CAGR 2011-15.

Ecobuild is an excellent fit with UBM Built Environment’s existing UK media portfolio which includes industry-leading online and print publications such as Property Week (www.propertyweek.co.uk) and Building (www.building.co.uk), as well as a range of events such as Interiors (www.interiorsbirmingham.com), Sleep (www.thesleepevent.com), BSEC (www.buildingschools.co.uk) and RESI (www.resievent.com). These media platforms will support Ecobuild’s ongoing growth as well as provide expert voices and authoritative content for the event.

Ecobuild is also a strong complement to UBM’s existing international construction portfolio which includes Expobuild in China (www.expobuild.com), the Concrete Show in Brazil (www.concreteshow.com.br/en) and India (http://concreteindia.net) as well as Building Future Education in UAE (www.buildingfutureeducationmena.com). UBM’s global events infrastructure will support the expansion of Ecobuild to other countries, building on the event’s existing international audience (approximately 10% of visitors and 25% of exhibitors).

UBM will launch the first Ecobuild geo-adaptation (a geo-adaptation is an event taken from one geography and adapted to suit the audience and market in a different geography) in Shanghai in April 2012. The event will run alongside UBM’s existing show Expobuild.

Ecobuild employs a total of nine staff in London and will be integrated into UBM Built Environment, also based in London. Ecobuild’s CEO David Wood will remain with the business until mid 2012. Eliane van Doorn has been appointed to drive the internationalisation of UBM’s built environment product portfolio. In her previous role at UBM Live, Eliane oversaw the development of UBM’s pharmaceutical industry tradeshow portfolio from seven events to 17 events taking place across China, Europe, Japan, India and South America.

The acquisition is expected to exceed UBM’s cost of capital criterion in its first full year of ownership.

David Levin, UBM’s Chief Executive Officer said:

“Ecobuild is a great show that complements our other businesses in the UK built environment sector such as Building and Property Week. We expect to double the size of Ecobuild over the next four years and we see clear opportunities to develop Ecobuild events in new geographies, taking advantage of our worldwide events infrastructure and our existing events portfolio, particularly in emerging markets such as China, Brazil, India and UAE. Our first new Ecobuild event will take place in Shanghai next year, alongside our existing construction show there, Expobuild.”