ITE acquires 28.3% stake in Indian exhibition group ABEC from Qatar’s QInvest for $22M

ITE Group Plc (ITE), a UK-based exhibitions specialist, has acquired 28.3 per cent stake in India’s Asian Business Exhibitions & Conferences Ltd. (ABEC) from QInvest, Qatar's investment bank. The stake was bought for $22 million, or Rs 123 crore, in cash in a secondary transaction. According to VCCircle estimates, this would value the company at Rs 454 crore.

The acquisition will be funded from existing cash resources and agreed debt facilities and, as per the deal, arrangements are in place to enable ITE to increase its shareholding in future.

In 2010, QInvest had picked up 28 per cent stake in ABEC. ABEC had Filed its DRHP in early 2010, and raised money from QInvest in November same year.

Russell Taylor, chief executive officer, ITE Group, said, "With expertise in this sector and its strong international sales network, ITE can deliver significant value to ABEC's business. Along with ITE's current business in India, this gives ITE a leading position in a dynamic region with an exhibition industry that is currently experiencing strong growth."

SM Gandhi, chairman, ABEC said, “ ITE has a large portfolio of construction, oil and gas and related events, which complements ABEC's domestic events. We are excited about the synergies that we will derive from ITE's expertise and international presence and are confident of ABEC scaling new heights."

The acquisition is expected to be earnings neutral for the financial year ending September 30, 2013.

ABEC runs 19 exhibitions across 11 vertical markets including construction, architecture, design, education, lifestyle, real estate, and oil and gas. ABEC had clocked $20 million or Rs 110 crore in revenues 2012 and profit of Rs 14 crore.

ABEC has an eight per cent market share in India, making it the largest private exhibition organiser in the country. Its portfolio of events is complementary to ITE's existing exhibition interests in India and the two businesses will be run concurrently.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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