This was certainly not how Roland Bleinroth imagined his first year as CEO of Messe Stuttgart: Instead of announcing a record profit – 2020 was on course to become the best year in the company's history – it is now the worst. The trade fair company closes the year ending with a total revenue of around 59 million euros and a deficit of around 18 million euros. "For many years, we managed our business well, we had a good equity ratio and, with the help of our shareholders, we were able to secure liquidity", said Bleinroth, forecasting similar figures for the current fiscal year 2021.
"As we all know, corona did not stop at the turn of the year. The pandemic and its effects will continue to make great demands on us this year, as well as in the following years", Messe Stuttgart president Stefan Lohnert adds. The company used the long months without any trade fair activity to reorganise content-specific constellations. "The crisis was and is without question a stressful period for everybody involved with trade fairs. However, at the same time it gave our creativity a great boost and motivated us to go down new paths", Lohnert explained.
„With the help of our shareholders, we were able to secure liquidity.“
Already in autumn 2020, Messe Stuttgart introduced four broadcasting studios. The management does not see physical trade fair presence as in any way threatened by digital offerings. "The core of every trade fair is the personal contact, and spontaneous conversations 'in passing'. Digital formats allow this only up to a certain point. We therefore see them, in the long term, as a complement to physical trade fairs." The plan is to resume these in September, as reported at the end of July.