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Artexis easyFairs and SMG sign strategic alliance

Eric Everard, CEO of Artexis easyFairs and Wes Westley, SMG President & CEO today announced that they have finalised a strategic alliance and established a joint venture company, Artexis-SMG, which will be based in Brussels and will offer highly specialised venue management services in Europe and beyond.

Eric Everard commented, “SMG is the world’s leading company in venue management, with a portfolio of 74 exhibition and convention centres. It sets the ‘gold standard’ in public facility management and I am delighted that we will be working together. Here in Europe, there is strong demand from public and private owners of congress, convention and exhibition centres for specialist expertise to maximise revenue streams and to help them host top quality events. Our new joint venture, Artexis-SMG, is better placed than anyone to meet this demand.”

Wes Westley added, “I have been very impressed by the professionalism of Artexis operations at its eight venues in Belgium and Sweden. We share similar values and a belief in the energising effect that venues can have on local economies. With his extensive experience of managing multi-format venues and as one of Europe’s recognised industry entrepreneurs, Håkan Gershagen is the ideal choice as Artexis-SMG’s Vice President, Business Development.”

The new joint venture will function independently from Artexis easyFairs’ activities as an event organiser. It will adopt SMG’s proven formula for professional venue management and apply them in the European context. “The combination of locally based Artexis-SMG personnel, with their deep knowledge of European markets, and SMG processes and best practices, will deliver exceptional added value to our customers,” said Everard.

“For convention planners, the SMG name carries the brand promise of a well-run facility and unparalleled expertise in all phases of convention planning. Through web links, email news blasts, bulk advertising buys in trade publications and participation in major convention planner trade shows, SMG offers its clients in North America exposure that may be prohibitively expensive to buy on their own. We also utilise the full range of electronic capabilities, including a proprietary online events calendar and booking system, which enables SMG onsite sales directors to share leads and co-sell properties. Property owners benefit from the full force of SMG working to send business their way, and events planners gain the ability to check SMG venues and available dates 24/7,” said Gregg Caren, executive vice president of SMG’s convention centre division. “We are hugely excited at the prospect of our joint venture offering a similar added value proposition in Europe.”

The joint venture’s immediate geographical scope extends across all of Europe (not just the EU) with the exception of Belgium and Sweden where Artexis already plays a leading role in venue management. Artexis-SMG will focus on exhibition and conference centres, the agreement not addressing other SMG core businesses such as theatres and sports stadia where the SMG name is already well-known in Europe.