Events revenues declined 9.7 percent year-over-year for UBM in the first three months of 2013, the company announced in its quarterly earnings report. The company as a whole followed suit, reporting a 7.9-percent decline in earnings.
UBM’s events division, its largest business segment by a significant margin, saw its revenue dip by close to $20 million, down from $185 million in the first quarter off 2012 to $167 million. Adjusted operating profits fell 28.6 percent to $45.8 million.
An odd-year imbalance of shows and poor performance from its UK Built Environment division were to blame, says UBM CEO David Levin.
“UBM had the tough first quarter we anticipated,” Levin says in a statement. “Events revenues reflect[ed] declines in our UK Built Environment shows. Our portfolio of events in the U.S. and emerging markets performed well. Forward bookings are tracking in line with our expectations and we continue to expect strong growth through the balance of the year, particularly in our emerging markets events which are weighted to the second half.”
UBM acquired Ecobuild, a sustainable building show, for $47 million in 2011 to bolster its UK Built Environment division, but attendance has nosedived from more than 55,000 at the time of the purchase to 45,000 this year. Exhibitor numbers have plunged as well, according to industry sources.
The company reports that forward bookings for its top 20 events are up 8.8 percent year-over-year.
Elsewhere at UBM, PR Newswire saw Q1 revenues up 0.4 percent to $75.1 million despite several anticipated market challenges, while earnings in the marketing services branch fell 12.8 percent to $55.1 million.
The company hopes to stem some of the losses in the latter segment via restructuring. UBM Tech began its shakeup last month by scrapping its print products to focus more on events and community efforts.
“PR Newswire has made a good start to the year,” Levin says. “In marketing services, we have begun to restructure the UBM Tech business to create a more sustainable and profitable model supporting our strong technology events franchise. Our full year guidance remains unchanged.”