Business-to-business media group Tarsus (LON:TRS) is on course to meet its financial targets this year as revenue growth from its operations in emerging markets continues to build. In an update timed to coincide with the company’s flagship event, the Dubai Airshow, Tarsus said 2011 had “the hallmarks of being a record year”. The all-important headline orders from this year’s Dubai Airshow totalled US$63.3 billion for aircraft, maintenance services and flight training programmes – up from US$14 billion of orders announced at the previous show in 2009.
Tarsus said that overall trading and forward bookings for the year to 31 December 2011 remained “very positive”, with forward bookings now standing at 96% of anticipated full year revenues compared to 93% at the same time in 2010 (as adjusted for biennial events). As a result of the timing of exhibitions, the fourth quarter of 2011 is highly cash generative for Tarsus and the company said it was on track for year end net debt to be in line with management expectations. Shares in Tarsus have risen from 126.5p to 136p since the beginning of November.
In its emerging market businesses, the biennial Dubai Airshow attracted a record number of trade visitors and 960 exhibitors from 50 countries attended. The five day show is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing Airshows and the 2013 exhibition will move to a larger facility at the new Al-Maktoum International Airport in Dubai. Meanwhile, Tarsus said that trading in its Chinese business continued to be very strong and that it was on course for a record Labelexpo Asia at the end of this month. The integration of IFO in Turkey, which was acquired in June 2011, is understood to be progressing well, with sales for IFO’s next exhibition, Sign Istanbul in early December, tracking well ahead of the 2010 edition.
In the US, bookings for the February 2012 Off-Price Show in Las Vegas show are tracking ahead of the February 2011 event, helped by the inclusion of footwear and accessories for retailers. The US-based medical division has also continued to grow strongly, at a double digit rate.
In Europe, the sale of Tarsus’ 51% interest in its French joint venture, ModAmont, to its partner, Premiere Vision, is due to complete in December. The €6.1 million cash deal will reduce the company’s exposure to a market where economic conditions continue to be particularly difficult. Tarsus said that trading in France had been in line with internal expectations and that its larger exhibitions had stabilised but the situation remained challenging for the smaller ones. In an interview with Stockopedia in October, Douglas Emslie, the managing director of Tarsus, said the sale of the French business represented an opportunity to bring in more emerging markets opportunities.
Commenting on the latest performance update, Emslie said: “Our forward bookings continue to be strong and we are well on track to meet our expectations for 2011. We remain committed to our long term strategy of increasing our exposure to emerging markets (Project 50/13 – whereby 50% of our revenue will be sourced from emerging markets by 2013) and driving organic growth across the business. It is already yielding results with the notable growth of the Dubai Airshow and the acquisition of IFO in Turkey. Looking forward to 2012, we are encouraged by the momentum of our US Medical business, Off-Price events and Labelexpo Americas, but remain vigilant owing to the second half weighting of our profits. The momentum we have built across both Middle and Far Eastern markets in 2011 augurs well for 2013 when the large biennial events recur.”