For the second year in a row, coronavirus has significantly affected the business operations and thus the financial results. In 2021, revenue came to €49.4 million (15% down compared to 2020) with a loss of €5.6 million.
Staying open or closing: the balance between investing and limiting losses
In the first quarter of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic brought us sharply to a standstill. Government measures forced us and our customers to cancel or reschedule trade fairs, conferences and meetings in 2021 as well. There were occasions when we managed to hold live events between closures, side by side with the online variants, of course, which could continue.
For the organisation, the continuing uncertainty throughout the year meant that a lot more effort and flexibility were needed to attract customers and visitors. Giving gas or remaining stationary is also a balancing act between incurring costs needed to be ready for reopening versus limiting the losses.
Revenue came to €49.4 million with a loss of €5.6 million, which is manageable. The governmental authorities contributed €11.1 million through emergency measures to retain jobs (NOW) and contributions to fixed expenses (TVL). Our direct costs fell as a result of the lower revenue. As a result of the measures taken, indirect costs fell by €8.4 million, of which €3.0 million was wages and €5.4 million other indirect operating costs.
The balance sheet remains solid and liquidity at year-end 2021 was €75.6 million (2020: €80.3 million), still a considerable buffer. Nevertheless, it was decided to set up an overdraft facility of €25.0 million.
We were able to stick to our strategic course in 2021. Progress was also made on the investments in the New Jaarbeurs master plan. The organisational blueprint has been further refined. Now that the reopening is in sight, a lot of new staff have been recruited.
Internationally, a profitable year was achieved despite the decline in revenue. Our participatory venture in China remained open for most of the year. Unfortunately, a closure at the end of 2021 and the relocation of a large exhibition as a result meant that the result was less than in a normal year. Our participatory venture in Thailand held online and hybrid events in particular.
Revenue from operations declined to €49.4 million (2020: €57.9 million), of which 58% was generated in the Netherlands, virtually the same as for 2020. Trade shows, consumer fairs and events generated 57% of the revenue.
Despite the lower revenue in 2021, the operating result was less negative (minus €10.1 million) than in 2020 (minus €15.0 million). This was caused by lower indirect costs. EBITDA dropped to a negative €0.8 million (2020: –€3.0 million), a margin of negative 1.6% (2020: –5.3%).
Shareholders’ equity fell by €6.2 million to €135.4 million. The solvency ratio was 68.8%. There was no recourse to financing from banks. The overdraft facility taken out in 2021 was therefore not drawn upon during the year.
The cash flow from operating activities was €1.3 million positive, largely as a result of the working capital. Investments in tangible and intangible fixed assets came to €6.0 million, as against €9.6 million in 2020. In addition to regular investments, we made investments in the master plan for the new Jaarbeurs.
Liquidity fell by €4.7 million to €75.6 million.
For detailed explanations of these figures, please see the financial statements.
Events after the balance sheet date
As a result of coronavirus, we were almost completely closed in the Netherlands for the first quarter of 2021. As of 24 March 2022, all coronavirus restrictions in the Netherlands have been relaxed. This obviously has a positive effect on our prospects. We are confident that the extensive vaccination programmes will let society keep coronavirus under control. Nevertheless, scenario analyses have been prepared to give us a picture of the impact of a worst-case scenario, such as a complete closure. Even in that scenario, the liquidity buffers are sufficient to absorb the impact in 2022.