In 2019, our financial results showed positive development. Revenue was up 13% to €141 million: both our Dutch and international operations contributed to revenue growth.
Bold ambitions on solid financial foundations
Our profitability increased on the back of revenue growth, while the gross profit margin and costs remained virtually stable. Our balance sheet continues to be solid.
Sound ambitious choices
Our financial foundations are solid and we are working on further improving our profitability. For our Dutch operations, the focus is on achieving healthy revenue growth. To increase our capability, the commercial organisation was restructured in late 2019. The implementation of the new Ungerboeck IT system in the fourth quarter of 2019 helped make our operations more efficient. Plans for the new Jaarbeurs were unveiled in late 2019. Implementation of these plans is conditional on us having a healthy financial basis. Internationally, our portfolio is showing strong growth in China in particular.
In 2019, revenue from our operations increased to €141 million, 60% of which was generated in the Netherlands. This is a 13% rise on 2018. 69% of our revenue comes from trade shows and consumer fairs. Especially in the events business, growth is soaring in percentage terms.
Driven by the increase in revenue, the operating profit rose from €13 million in 2018 to €21 million last year. EBITDA was up 23.3% to €33 million.
The average number of employees in 2019, corrected based on zero-hour contracts in the catering business, was up by 9 FTEs. The workforce grew on an international level but the number of employees in the Netherlands fell slightly.
Shareholders’ equity rose €13 million to €155 million. Our solvency ratio increased to 68%. We do not rely on bank financing.
Cash flow from operating activities totalled €20 million. Given the two-yearly trade show cycle and associated fluctuations in operating capital, cash flow for 2019 should be compared to the €7 million cash flow in 2017. The difference is down to the higher operating profit. Investments are carefully weighed. Investments in tangible and intangible fixed assets amounted to over €8 million in 2019, compared to €4 million in 2018. Besides regular investments in building maintenance, investments also went into the new IT system (€1.9 million), the masterplan for the new Jaarbeurs (€2.5 million), and the transport bridge (€1.4 million).
Liquidity was up €11 million to €98 million.
For detailed notes to these figures, please refer to the financial statements.