Emerald Holding bounces back after COVID

Emerald Holding, Inc., America’s largest producer of trade shows and their associated conferences, content and commerce, reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year that ended Dec. 31, 2022.

Among Emerald’s groups is the Photo Group, which includes the recently held WPPI conference and the Rangefinder publication. The Dead Pixels Society interviewed WPPI’s George Varanakis recently:

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Emerald reported revenues of $325.9 million for 2022, an increase of $180.4 million, or 124.0%, on an increase in events staged in FY 2022 versus FY 2021. The net income was $130.8 million for 2022, compared to a net loss of $79.7 million for 2021. Adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP measure, of $239.6 million for 2022, compared to $44.1 million for 2021; Adjusted EBITDA excluding insurance proceeds, a non-GAAP measure, of $56.8 million for 2022, compared to negative $33.3 million for 2021.

In the fourth quarter, revenues were $93.6 million, an increase of $52.5 million or 127.7% versus the fourth quarter 2021, driven by revenue from the MJBiz and Advertising Week acquisitions, each of which staged its largest event in the fourth quarter 2022.

Emerald successfully staged 124 in-person trade shows, conferences, and other events in FY 2022 as the company builds back from the COVID-19 pandemic and customers eagerly returned to in-person events

Hervé Sedky, Emerald’s President and Chief Executive Officer

“We witnessed a strong recovery in the events industry in 2022 as COVID waned and exhibitors and attendees were eager to get back to in-person events,” said Hervé Sedky, Emerald’s president and CEO. “Our unique business model offers multiple revenue drivers including organic growth, our Xcelerator program for new event launches, and our acquisitions strategy, all focused on making Emerald a stronger leader in the industry. As a leading consolidator of live events, we’ve acquired eight businesses over the last two years that build on our existing capabilities across our events, content, and e-commerce platforms. We also successfully launched four new brands in high-growth sectors through our Xcelerator program in 2022, providing us with an opportunity to apply Emerald’s flywheel and add significant scale to the business. Our proprietary data, content business, and e-commerce abilities are also enabling us to meet our customers’ needs at every turn while growing our audiences and driving higher revenue per customer. As we move into 2023, we are focused on our three strategic priorities of customer centricity, 365-day engagement, and portfolio optimization, and are confident in the future of the industry and our place as a leading player.”

“We are very pleased with our performance in 2022, delivering over $325 million of revenue and almost $57 million of Adjusted EBITDA, both exceeding our previously stated guidance,” said David Doft, Emerald’s Chief Financial Officer. “This past year, we continued to invest in our business to drive growth both organically and through strategic acquisitions. Our free cash flow in the fourth quarter of 2022 was impacted by timing shifts in working capital, as event sign-ups and contractual deposit due dates have fluctuated as customer behavior returns to normal. We expect to have meaningful cash leverage in our business model as increases in free cash flow align closely with Adjusted EBITDA growth. Looking ahead, interest in event participation has continued on a strong and positive trajectory, giving us confidence in the year ahead. For the full year 2023, we project that we will generate in excess of $400 million of revenue and $100 million of Adjusted EBITDA.”

Fourth Quarter and Full Year Ended December 31, 2022 Financial Performance and Highlights

Three Months Ended
December 31,
Year Ended
December 31,
2022 2021 Change % Change 2022 2021 Change % Change
(unaudited, dollars in millions, except percentages and per share data)
Revenues $ 93.6 $ 41.1 $ 52.5 127.7 % $ 325.9 $ 145.5 $ 180.4 124.0 %
Net income (loss) $ 22.4 $ (8.9 ) $ 31.3 NM $ 130.8 $ (79.7 ) $ 210.5 NM
Net cash (used in) provided by operating activities $ (23.6 ) $ 53.7 $ (77.3 ) NM $ 175.1 $ 90.0 $ 85.1 94.6 %
Diluted income (loss) per share $ 0.06 $ (0.26 ) $ 0.32 NM $ 0.46 $ (1.62 ) $ 2.08 NM
Non-GAAP measures:
Adjusted EBITDA $ 25.0 $ 51.0 $ (26.0 ) (51.0 %) $ 239.6 $ 44.1 $ 195.5 443.3 %
Adjusted EBITDA excluding event cancellation insurance proceeds $ 25.0 $ (8.9 ) $ 33.9 NM $ 56.8 $ (33.3 ) $ 90.1 NM
Free Cash Flow $ (26.4 ) $ 51.2 $ (77.6 ) NM $ 164.8 $ 83.4 $ 81.4 NM