/ Paris+ or Art Basel - speculation about the MCH Group's strategy

Tuesday, April 12, 2022
10:35 am CET
By Ronny Waburek

Speculation About Paris

MCH Group Recovers Slowly

Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 10:35 am CET
By Ronny Waburek

Speculation about Paris

Speculation about Paris

Hardly anyone in the MCH Group will like to think back to 2020. The figures that Art Basel's parent company has now presented for 2012 indicate an upward trend - and yet the question remains as to what strategy the exhibition company intends to pursue in the long term.
Better figures than 2021

After a loss of 72.2 million Swiss francs in the pandemic year 2020, losses in 2021 were only 17.3 million Swiss francs. Special financial effects such as government support measures also contributed to these improvements. Looking ahead to 2022, however, the exhibition company again expects a negative result, writes the Basler Zeitung.

An increase was also seen in sales: from 188 million Swiss francs in 2021; it went up by 30 percent to 243.3 million Swiss francs. However, equity shrank from 67.3 million francs to 47.8 million francs.

Some personnel changes accompany these encouraging figures. Andrea Zappia, an Italian, has been appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of the MCH Group. Beat Zwahlen, previously Chief Financial Officer, can now call himself CEO.

More digital and more expansive

Quite officially, the MCH Group sees its future in digital formats - the acquisition of Digital Festival in June 2021 and the launch of Swissbau Innovation Lab are essential steps in this direction. In addition, geographical expansion is on the roadmap. The prelude to this was the participation in the art fair in Singapore and the establishment of an agency in Dubai. The trade fair strategists from Basel see the expansion of the experience marketing area as the third pillar. This involves providing support for corporate events - from conception to implementation. However, it is unclear how this will achieve capacity utilization in the Basel exhibition halls.

What is particularly exciting for the art scene is how the MCH Group's commitment to the new art fair in Paris will be assessed. Baselworld is no longer to be held in its usual form, and Swissbau in May will be much smaller than usual. And whether Art Basel, as the MCH Group's last major exhibition, will continue to be held in Basel in the future no longer seems quite as sure as it did last year. But Zappia emphasized that the ultimate aim of going to Paris was to strengthen Basel as a location. Is this statement to be understood politically? After all, the exhibition center in Paris offers several advantages over Basel - especially in terms of logistics and concerning an international audience, for whom Paris is clearly more attractive than the Swiss provincial city.

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Ronny Waburek
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