Earnings: Higher Exhibitor Volume Drives Q1 Growth for Emerald

May 10, 2024

U.S. B2B trade show and conference producer Emerald posted a 9.1% increase in revenues in the first quarter (Q1) 2024, compared with the same period last year, according to its 2024 Q1 financial results released on May 7.

Emerald generated Q1 revenues of $133.4 million, an increase of $11.1 million compared with Q1 2023 revenues of $122.3 million. Company officials attributed the growth to increased exhibitor and attendee metrics for events in its strongest categories, such as The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show KBIS, Prosper and the International Pizza Expo, as well as the acquisition of Hotel Interactive.

By the numbers: Organic revenues, a non-GAAP measure that takes into account the impact of acquisitions, scheduling adjustments and discontinued events, were $128.6 million for Q1, an increase of $13.5 million, or 11.7%, from $115.1 million for Q1 2023, primarily due to higher volume of exhibitors and improved pricing. Net income amounted to $11.0 million for Q1, compared to net income of $7.1 million for Q1 2023.

Emerald President and CEO Hervé Sedky

What they are saying: “2024 is off to a strong start, driven by our unwavering commitment to customer centricity and year-round engagement,” said Emerald President and CEO Hervé Sedky. “This focus has not only fueled early re-bookings into 2025 but has also provided us with excellent forward visibility into our revenue trajectory.”

Why it matters to exhibitors: “For many businesses, trade shows are the No. 1 selling or marketing event of the year, and a big part of our on-going efforts has been to highlight this value proposition and make ROI more transparent by developing value-added tools and metrics that we believe will deliver an even better trade show experience,” said Sedky in the recorded Q1 earning call.

Q1 trade show highlight: KBIS 2024 posted record attendance of 41,500 registered visitors and attracted more than 670 exhibitors, a 30% increase from 2023, according to a press release. Held Feb. 27-29 in Las Vegas, the 60-year-old show, which is produced by Emerald and owned by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), was part of Design & Construction Week (DCW), the co-location of KBIS and The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)’s International Builders’ Show (IBS). 

Operational highlights: Emerald reported its core trade show business is strong with year-over-year growth in revenue driven by increases in exhibitors, attendees and pricing. In January, Emerald acquired Hotel Interactive, a producer of hosted buyer events serving the hospitality, senior living and casino industries via the BITAC series of events.

KBIS 2024 drew more than 670 exhibitors to Las Vegas in Q1.

Deeper dive: According to Emerald CFO David Doft,  the company’s successive quarter of solid organic revenue growth was supported by strong exhibitor counts and pricing trends. “Our customers rely on Emerald’s events to generate new leads and transact in high volumes, leading them to view our shows as an investment rather than an expense,” Doft explained. “As we grow our revenues, we expect to better leverage our operating cost base to drive even greater profitability and free cash flow generation.”

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

Looking ahead: “After completion of the first quarter and with the visibility we have into the remainder of the year, we believe the company is on track to deliver on our growth and profitability targets for the year of between $415 million and $425 million of revenue and between $110 million and $115 million of adjusted EBITDA,” Sedky said.  

Stock conversion: “Last week marked a significant milestone for us as we completed the conversion of our outstanding convertible preferred stock into common stock,” Doft said. “This milestone not only simplifies our capital structure but also positions Emerald as an even more attractive investment opportunity as all shareholders can now share equally in the free cash generation of the business.”



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