Trade fairs central factor in economic upturn

Düsseldorf trade fair organizers optimistic about the future


   Messe Düsseldorf is well equipped to deal with the effects of the Corona pandemic: Significant increases in sales and profits in 2019 and a trade fair year with a high number of events will increase the group's equity capital to over half a billion euros. Messe Düsseldorf is meeting the current challenges by continuing to operate responsibly and sustainably, working on a concept for the relaunch of trade fairs and strengthening the digital transformation of the trade fair format and its own company.


   Thanks to strong domestic business in 2019 and a trade fair year full of events, Messe Düsseldorf can report solid growth: Messe Düsseldorf Group reports sales of EUR 378.5 million (previous year: EUR 294 million) – a 28.7% increase. The annual consolidated profit after taxes amounts to EUR 56.6 million (previous year: EUR 24.3 million). Messe Düsseldorf GmbH achieved an increase in profits of just under 32%. Revenues were up from EUR 260.4 million to EUR 344 million. The company’s profits more than tripled. Its annual net profits rose by 232% to EUR 50.8 million (2018: EUR 15.3 million). This results in a return on sales of 14.8% (previous year: 5.9%).

   This puts Messe Düsseldorf in a good starting position to face the current Corona crisis: equity capital rose by 8.9% to 518.6 million euros (Messe Düsseldorf Group) and 448 million euros (Messe Düsseldorf GmbH). “In 2019, we have been operating extremely profitably, have sufficient liquidity and a high level of equity," says Werner M. Dornscheidt, Chairman of the Board of Management of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, outlining the current economic situation of his company. "Backed up by these securities, we will be able to overcome the current crisis and shape the post-Corona upswing successfully and sustainably.”



Forecast for the current business year 2020 revised downwards

   As a result of the pandemic, the company so far had to postpone ten leading world trade fairs at its Düsseldorf (Germany) location: CARAVAN SALON, drupa, interpack, ProWein, wire, Tube, BEAUTY, TOP HAIR, ENERGY STORAGE EUROPE and SportsInnovation. Add to this numerous events around the globe that act as platforms for local industries. This impacts the forecast for the current business year: while Messe Düsseldorf GmbH still expected very good numbers for 2020 on account of the trade fair cycles before the Coronavirus crisis (sales: EUR 474 million; profit after taxes: EUR 82.2 million) the group must now revise its expectations downwards


Restart: Trade Fairs bring Business into Pole Position again

   Messe Düsseldorf counters the negative effects of the Coronavirus by continued solid and sustainable management: the trade fair company has applied for short-time work for the period June to August included and reduced its planned investment by EUR 30 million. The company is also preparing to resume trade fair operations. New dates have been largely set.  “We are cooperating closely with authorities, associations and partners to work out a concept for the re-start,” said Werner M. Dornscheidt, President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf. “As a trade fair company we have to ensure that the high safety and hygiene standards already in place at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Center are constantly adapted to the latest findings. Our customers’, guests’ and employees’ health is always our top priority. At the same time, we aim to keep the economic losses of all parties involved as low as possible and to give customers, partners and sectors dependent on trade fairs the highest planning security possible.”


Sustainable Platforms with Good Growth Rates

   Dornscheidt is optimistic: “Our global No. 1 trade fairs are very well positioned on the market as international meeting points for decision-makers of various industries. The growth rates that Messe Düsseldorf posted for exhibitors, visitors and rented net space in 2019 exceeded the average numbers in the industry.” At the own events held at the home-base in Düsseldorf,  26,259 exhibitors (+ 2.9%) on 8.9 million square feet net  (+ 1.9%) presented their innovations to approximately 1.3 million trade visitors (+ 2.3%). In 2019 Messe Düsseldorf organized a total of 29 events in Düsseldorf (previous year: 27), of these 18 were its own events and 11 were partner and guest events. “Especially in times of crisis it is important to set a stage for companies to present their innovations and trends. Players must have the possibility to exchange and jointly chart the course for the future,” explained Dornscheidt. “This is why we receive such a high rate of approval for our leading international trade fairs and want to set important impulses for the individual sectors of industry as well as the economy as a whole.”


Digital Transformation: Investment in the Future

   “In addition to the further development of content, we are continuing to expand the digital presentation options for our customers. On our online portals, for example, the trade fairs are already on 365 days a year,” explained Dornscheidt. There, Messe Düsseldorf offers its exhibitors the opportunity to present themselves and their products using multimedia and to make contact with other industry representatives.  “We are constantly further developing these formats to make our customers’ content even more attractive and user-friendly,” added Dornscheidt.  For example, drupa is planning a digital preview in autumn, where exhibitors will present themselves online, to prepare for the world's leading trade fair for printing technologies, which has been postponed to 2021. Düsseldorf Congress, the subsidiary specializing in congresses, meetings and events has also launched offers for virtual conferences, meetings and webcasts. It offers all the relevant facilities, technical equipment and know-how. Dornscheidt emphasizes: “Beyond the digitalization of the trade fair format we have also driving forward the digital transformation of the entire company for years. This pays off during and after Covid-19.”


Site Optimization: Added Value for Customers and Environment

   In order to remain competitive and attractive for customers in the future, Messe Düsseldorf also keeps its premises and facilities  up to date - in terms of technology, functionality, comfort and architecture. After Hall 1 was already opened in autumn 2019, the new South Entrance will be completed this year. “Just in time for the restart of our trade fairs, we will have  a new architectural highlight”, said Dornscheidt. Further construction measures as part of the Messe Düsseldorf 2030 master plan, according to which all exhibition halls should be modernized by the end of the decade, were postponed for the time being in view of the current situation.


Strengthening International Business

   Messe Düsseldorf, which has 77 foreign representatives in 141 countries, is also expanding globally. Particularly in dynamic future markets with high growth potential such as Africa, South America and the Middle East, it is continuously expanding its international business under the umbrella of the four major Düsseldorf-based world-leading trade fairs interpack (Processing & Packaging), MEDICA (Health & Medical Technologies), K (Plastics & Rubber) and wire and Tube (Metals & Flow Technologies). New events held abroad in 2019 include the FAMDENT Show in Mumbai, one of the leading Indian specialist events for dental medicine, pacprocess Middle East Africa in Cairo, a member of the interpack alliance, Pack Print Plas (PPP) Philippines in Manila as part of the Print Technologies portfolio built around the leading international trade fair drupa and ProWine in São Paulo as the new trade fair of the ProWein portfolio tailored to the Latin American market. Last year, Messe Düsseldorf organized 57 of its own events and participations abroad thereby generating sales of EUR 70 million. As in the past, Russia remains the most important foreign market with sales standing at some EUR 34 million, followed by China (around EUR 17 million) and Singapore (EUR 7.4 million).


Foreign Business Generates Feedback Effects for Düsseldorf

The positive feedback effects for the trade fair location Düsseldorf confirms the globalization strategy of the group. The percentage of guests from abroad has increased for years. In 2019 73.4% of all exhibitors at their own events in Düsseldorf came from abroad (previous events: 71.3%); the percentage of international visitors stood at 37.1% (previous events: 36.6%). This percentage is especially high at the Düsseldorf-based No. 1 trade fairs of the four global portfolios: here just under 70% of trade visitors came from abroad in 2019. All this has an impact on the business location: According to a study by the Munich-based ifo Institute, Düsseldorf's trade fair and congress business alone generates annual sales of around 2.98 billion euros (in Düsseldorf: 1.66 billion euros), secures 27,692 jobs (in Düsseldorf: 16,664) and generates additional tax revenues of 567 million euros (in Düsseldorf: 36.3 million euros). Numerous sectors of the economy are connected with the events, such as skilled craft businesses, trade fair construction companies, gastronomy, the hotel industry, retail and public transport. “We are working on resuming trade fair operations as quickly as possible: for the exhibiting industries, the downstream sectors and the business locations of Düsseldorf and Germany as a whole,” explained Dornscheidt.


Change of staff 2020: Reorganization of Management Board

At the end of June, the President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH will retire after almost 17 years at the helm of the company. Dornscheidt's successor on July 1 will be Wolfram N. Diener, who has been responsible for the operations of several Global Portfolios since joining the company in 2018. Erhard Wienkamp has already been the new Chief Operating Officer since  January 1, 2020. He succeeded Hans Werner Reinhard, who left the company in 2019. Bernhard J. Stempfle, responsible for finance and technology, completes the team of managing directors. Werner M. Dornscheidt is convinced of the new management: "Markets are shifting, the world is becoming more international, digital and complex. The Covid-19 pandemic brings unprecedented challenges. With their many years of trade fair experience, Wolfram N. Diener, Bernhard J. Stempfle and Erhard Wienkamp are the ideal trio to guide Messe Düsseldorf through the Coronavirus crisis and position it successfully for the future.”


   For information on visiting or exhibiting at any of Messe Düsseldorf’s worldwide trade fairs, contact Messe Düsseldorf North America; Telephone: (312) 781-5180; E-mail:; Visit; Follow us on twitter at



May 2020


Press Contact:

Anne Meerboth-Maltz
Tel. (312)781-5185
Fax (312) 781-5188

Messe Düsseldorf North America
150 North Michigan Avenue
Suite 2920
Chicago, IL 60601

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