Major construction expo to stay in Vegas through 2014

ConExpo-Con/Agg, the massive construction equipment exhibition that has come to Las Vegas in March every three years, will be back in 2014 and Phoenix-based Viad Corp has extended its convention services contract with the show through its locally based GES division.

Viad, parent company of Las Vegas convention services contractor Global Experience Specialists, reported a fourth-quarter loss of $6.8 million, 35 cents a share, but company executives were encouraged by a full-year return to profitability.

Including restructuring charges, the loss for the fourth quarter that ended Dec. 31 was $5.3 million, 27 cents a share, on revenue of $197.4 million, 1 cent better than analysts' expectations. Revenue was up 5.6 percent over the same quarter a year earlier.

The fourth-quarter downturn had been anticipated. But company officials said the company's 2011 results marked an important turnaround for Viad, whose Marketing and Events Group division is dominated by GES, the largest unit of which is in Las Vegas.

"Our Marketing and Events Group made great strides in 2011, with meaningful growth and improved profitability," said Paul Dykstra, chairman, president and CEO of Viad, in a release accompanying the announcement of quarterly earnings.

"Our realigned U.S. sales force was successful in capturing additional exhibitor spending," Dykstra said.

For the year, Marketing and Events Group revenue increased $84.1 million to $840.6 million — $631.4 million of that in the United States. Viad has divisions that operate convention services in Great Britain and the Middle East.

Dykstra said the company expected continued convention and trade show industry growth in 2012. Base same-show revenue — events that take place in the same city during the same quarter each year — is expected to go up by single-digit percentages this year. Annual show rotation is not expected to have a meaningful impact on company revenues for the year, with a negative impact of $40 million for the first quarter, a negative impact of $10 million in the second, a positive impact of $45 million for the third and a positive impact of $5 million for the fourth.

The contract renewal for ConExpo-Con/Agg, while not unexpected, will bolster Las Vegas' convention calendar for 2014. The show brings in more than 140,000 people and is one of largest events in the world by square footage.

Viad signed the deal with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, which owns and manages the show, just for 2014.

The show owners only sign contracts for the pending show, but has requested space at the Las Vegas Convention Center for its next three shows, through 2023, and is expected to remain in the city.

The company also announced that it had signed a contract for IFPE 2014, the International Fluid Power Exposition, a show for the power transmission industry run in conjunction with ConExpo.

ConExpo, which rivals the International Consumer Electronics Show in size, will be March 4-8, 2014.