Earnings: Emerald Reports Double-Digit Growth in Year-Over-Year Revenue For 2023

March 5, 2024

U.S. trade show producer Emerald Holding, Inc. reported a 17.5% year-over-year revenue increase to $382.8 million in 2023, growth attributed to event expansion, new launches and acquisitions, according to its financial results for the fourth quarter (Q4) and full year of 2023 that were released on Feb. 29

Despite this good news, the company reported a net loss of $8.2 million for the year, contrasting with 2022’s net income of $130.8 million. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) stood at $97.8 million for 2023, down from $239.6 million in 2022, though when excluding insurance proceeds, shows a sizable improvement from the previous year.

The company’s operational highlights include robust growth in its core trade show business, driven by increased exhibitors, attendees and pricing. Notably, Emerald expanded its portfolio with acquisitions like Lodestone Events’ Overland Expo and launches like NBA Con in partnership with the National Basketball Association, according to Emerald officials.

Emerald President and CEO Hervé Sedky expressed satisfaction over the 2023 results, highlighting the company’s diversified and scaled platform, which has benefitted from an extended post-pandemic recovery with strong attendee and exhibitor demand. 

Emerald President & CEO Hervé Sedky

“Improvements in our customers’ supply chains and the removal of international travel restrictions are driving higher exhibitor attendance at our trade shows and contributing to increases in attendees and pricing,” Sedky said. “Our highlights in 2023 include the acquisition of Lodestone Events and their Overland Expo show, the successful launch of the Cocina Sabrosa Latin food expo in September and the largest ever edition of Advertising Week New York, which we hosted in October.”

He continued, “Our recent performance demonstrates the exceptional and durable value that trade shows offer to buyers and sellers alike. We are excited for 2024 and beyond as we continue to grow our portfolio of must-attend events and deliver greater value to our exhibitors, attendees and shareholders.” 


Key financial highlights

  • Overall revenue up: Emerald’s revenue reached $382.8 million in 2023, marking an uptick of $56.9 million or 17.5% compared to 2022, mainly attributed to the expansion in events, new launches and strategic acquisitions.
  • Organic revenue up: A measure excluding the effects of acquisitions and scheduling shifts, organic Revenue, stood at $370.1 million in 2023, up $47 million or 14.5% from $323.1 million in 2022.
  • Cash flow: The report also detailed cash flow improvements and a healthy balance sheet, with $204 million in cash and full availability of a $110 million revolving credit facility.
  • 2024 Outlook: The company anticipates revenues between $415 million and $425 million and adjusted EBITDA between $110 million and $115 million.


Operational highlights

Emerald’s trade show segment showcased robust year-over-year growth in revenue, driven by an increase in exhibitors, attendees and pricing.

In 2023, Emerald launched NBA Con in Las Vegas in partnership with the National Basketball Association.

Emerald CFO David Doft emphasized the company’s top- and bottom-line growth, driven by positive attendance and pricing trends as its customers continue to see Emerald trade shows as instrumental in growing their businesses, generating leads and discovering new products.

“For the full year 2023, we grew revenue more than 17% and adjusted EBITDA more than 67%, excluding insurance proceeds, over the prior year,” Doft said. “The performance of our media content business was muted in 2023 as many companies in the tech sector took a more cautious approach to advertising spend, which slightly detracted from the otherwise strong performance in our core live events business.”

He continued, “Looking ahead, we have positioned Emerald to be an engine of sustained growth through our strategy of organically growing attendance and pricing as well as through acquisitions and new show launches. Our guidance for 2024 implies another double-digit percentage increase in EBITDA, supported by positive trends in our industry, operational and scale efficiencies, and a large and growing portfolio of industry-leading events.”


Deeper dive: Q4 and Full Year (Ended Dec. 31, 2023) Financial Performance vs. same period in 2022

Q4 and Full Year (Ended Dec. 31, 2023) Financial Performance and Highlights Summary

  • In 2023, Emerald reorganized its reporting segments, with the Connections segment, encompassing live events, generating approximately 89% of revenues, and the All Other category, including content and SaaS assets, contributing around 11%.
  • Q4 revenues in 2023 rose to $101.5 million, an 8.4% increase from the same period in 2022, largely due to organic growth and acquisitions. The full-year revenue in 2023 escalated to $382.8 million, up 17.5% from 2022, primarily driven by organic growth and acquisitions.
  • Adjusted EBITDA for the Q4 2023 was $35.8 million, and for the full year, it was $97.8 million. The company experienced a net loss of $17.9 million in the fourth quarter and $8.2 million for the full year.

For the full financial details, go here.


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