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newswww.exhibitionnews.co.uk 7CloserStill Media's value soars to £25m with equity injectionExhibition organiser CloserStill Media has secured a significant injection of capital from UK private equity firm Phoenix Equity Partners (Phoenix) which values the business at about £25m.This is the sixth investment from Phoenix's £450m fund, which was raised in 2010. The new capital will support CloserStill's ambitious growth strategy, including international expansion and further UK-based development driven by acquisitions and new launches. The organiser was launched by Andy Center, Phil Nelson and Michael Westcott and currently has a portfolio of 10 major exhibitions in the UK principally in the healthcare and technology sectors. These include the London Vet Show, Pharmacy Show, Dentistry Show, Learning Technologies, nextgen and Cloud Expo Europe, which it purchased last year. The latest event was Clinical Pharmacy Congress (pictured), which debuted at Excel London in April and attracted 1,272 delegates. The organiser has also just announced its first international event, France Vet, in Paris next year. "Phoenix has an enviable pedigree and, with this backing we can now paint our pictures on even bigger canvasses; the adventure continues," said CloserStill CEO Andy Center. Kevin Keck, a partner at Phoenix, saw great opportunities for CloserStill to grow rapidly. "We have been focused on making an investment in the exhibition sector for some time and we are delighted to be investing alongside the outstanding CloserStill team," he added.According to Center, CloserStill has gone from a standing start to £10m in revenue in three years, and nearly £3m in profit. During this time, the company has acquired £3.5m of assets in revenue terms and undertaken £3m worth of launches. Center claimed CloserStill is currently in negotiations for several acquisitions.In BrIefHouston quits HiCHarrogate International Centre (HIC) director Angus Houston has quit his post after 18 months, citing a desire to seek fresh challenges. He joined the venue in 2011 following a stint as executive director of Ricoh Arena and will be replaced in the short-term by deputy director of HIC simon Kent, who joined the HIC in 2004. Houston's tenure has been marred with a series of economic challenges following record losses at the HIC, which triggered a range of job cuts and outsourcing of other functions. The venue is owned by Harrogate District Council, which has seen its workforce halved in recent years. The cuts came at the same time as the HIC embarked on a £13m expansion programme.AECC dEbts to bE ClEArEd by CounCilAberdeen City Council's new political administration is planning to pay off £26.2m in loans owed by the Aberdeen exhibition and Conference Centre (AeCC) to the local authority. Labour leader councillor Barney Crockett said ridding the venue of its historic debt was a display of the council's commitment to the economic future of the city and its events industry. "This would be a momentous decision which would allow the AeCC to plan more clearly for the future and go forward on a firmer financial footing as a major public exhibition space unencumbered by debt," he said. However, local media reports said the councillor didn't specify where the money would come from. vidEo gAtEwAy dEbutsTechnology supplier Videobuilder has launched a new overlay payment and freeview gateway feature to its existing video widget for event websites. The feature allows event organisers to overlay payment and freeview gateways to their filmed seminar video content on their websites. A credit-card payment gateway can be added to individual videos or entire event inventories and voucher codes can also be created. "Many organisers spend significant sums filming their seminars, and then simply give it way after," said Videobuilder CeO Richard Counsell. "why not reward attendees with exclusive access to filmed content and charge others who failed to show?"UK organisers break into South east AsiaSeveral UK organisers are ramping up Asian operations as fresh opportunities emerge in South East Asia and China. Quartz Business Media has launched the first South East Asian edition of Chemspec in Thailand next year. Chemspec Asia will be held at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre from 19 to 21 September 2013 and is expected to attract 5,000 attendees. The trade show will focus on the fine and speciality chemicals industry and is being developed with The Federation of Thai Industries - Chemical Industry Club. The organiser attributed its choice of Thailand to its reputation as a regional hub among the international fine chemicals community, and demand from the Asian chemical industry for a regional event. Chemspec debuted in 1986 in the UK and has expanded into Europe, India, the US, Middle East and Latin America. "There is little doubt Asia is currently the world's economic success story and with manufacturing performance in the region having been robust in the face of the recent global financial crisis, future growth indicators are extremely positive," Quartz vice-president Steve Diprose said. During a roadshow held by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau in London in May, Mack Brooks also detailed its first Fastener Fair in Thailand this September. Traditionally, Mack Brooks has focused on BRIC countries but ASEAN's growth economy offered new avenues for niche shows, MD David Tellett said. "We feel the timing is right for ASEAN, economically as well as for us as an international company." Clarion Events is also expanding into South East Asia and has five events to date. "We have started with smaller, specialist events we hope will grow into larger expos," MD Simon Kimble said. Across in China, UBM has confirmed the China edition of its Ecobuild event will return for a second edition in April 2013 after attracting more than 15,000 visitors and 127 exhibitors in Shanghai. The event took place at the SNIEC exhibition centre, with Expo Build on 9-12 April, which attracted 100,000 professionals. Ecobuild China's achievement follows the recent success of Ecobuild UK, which reported 57,000 visitors. "We want Ecobuild China to be the annual meeting place for everyone involved in creating and maintaining sustainable built environments throughout China," Ecobuild portfolio director James Blue said.

AEO AwArds finAlists rEvEAlEdThe Association of Event Organisers (AEO) has announced the finalists for this year's Excellence Awards. The association claimed entries for its 17 judging-based award categories this year were up by 25 per cent. The finalists and winners are chosen by an industry judging panel made up of representatives from different corners of the events industry. The 2012 AEO Excellence Awards will be held on Friday 6 July at The Artillery Garden at the HAC (pictured). Among those vying for Best Trade Launch Show this year are Centaur Exhibitions (AidEx 2011), Clarion Events (Home), Closerstill Media (Clinical Pharmacy Congress), Reed Exhibitions (World Travel Catering and onboard Expo), Regent Exhibitions (IMEX America) and Revo Media Partners (Lux Live). Best Consumer Launch Show contenders meanwhile are Media 10 (Ideal Home Show at Christmas, Ideal Home Show Scotland 2011), Ocean Media (Luxury Wedding Show) and QD Events (Pet Show). Those up for Best Tradeshow Exhibition over 2,000sqm are Centaur Exhibitions (Marketing Week Live 2011), Clarion Events (DSEI), Fresh Montgomery (Speciality and Fine Food Fair 2011), GSMA (GSMA Mobile World Congress) i2i Events Group (Spring Fair International), Integrated Systems Events (Integrated Systems Europe), Reed Exhibitions (in-cosmetics) and Tarsus Group (Labelexpo 2011). Best Tradeshow Exhibition under 2,000sqm is being contested by Closer2 Media (Cloud Expo Europe), Closerstill Media Healthcare (London Vet Show), Diversified Business Communications Chelsea loses Battersea bidChelsea Football Club has lost its bid to redevelop Battersea Power Station into a 60,000-seat stadium in favour of plans from Malaysian property developers. SP Setia and Sime Darby have inked an exclusivity agreement with Battersea's joint administrators and receivers Alan Bloom and Alan Hudson of Ernst & news8 www.exhibitionnews.co.ukYoung to acquire the site for £400m, the companies said in a joint statement. The pair reportedly won the rights to redevelop the site from a pool of 15 bidders who submitted plans to buy the protected 15-hectare site. Battersea Power Station has been the subject of repeated failed redevelopment attempts since it shut in 1983. The site came back on the market six months ago after a £5.5bn plan by the Irish developer Treasury Holdings to redevelop Battersea into a homes, shops and offices complex collapsed. According to a report in The Guardian, the deal marks SP Setia's first foray into Europe and adds to its residential schemes in Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. The Malaysian companies said the site's redevelopment will revive south-west central London while preserving the iconic chimney stacks and brick façade. The plans also include a new underground train station as part of the proposed extension of London's Northern Line.Westfield event planQEIICC chief's OBEQueen elizabeth II Conference Centre (QeIICC) CeO ernest Vincent has been awarded an OBe (Order of the British empire) for services to the exhibition industry. The award was announced on 16 June as part of the Queen's birthday honours list. Before joining the QeIICC, Vincent was GM of Toronto's national Trade Centre. earlier in his career, he was on the executive management team at The neC before being recruited to establish The Hong Kong Convention and exhibition Centre. Vincent also managed the opening of The Queen sirikit Convention Centre in Bangkok in 1991 and was a member of the executive team that bid for the development rights to construct The singapore International Convention and exhibition Centre. "To be appointed OBe is an immense and unexpected honour," Vincent said. "For more than 35 years I've been able to contribute to the exhilarating business of international meetings, exhibitions and events."Taste of London goes for ZingResearch provider Zing Insights was awarded the 2012 research contract for Brand events' consumer food show in Regent's Park, Taste of London. Under the deal, Zing conducted a programme of attendee analysis using its new research pods onsite and post-show online surveying. The pods are standalone and based on iPad devices that operate offline. Taste of London ran from 21 to 24 June and attracted 50,000 attendees last year. NCC event growsThe national Caravan Council's (nCC) events division is expanding its second annual Motorhome and Caravan show at The neC in Birmingham into an additional hall. This year's show will now stretch across 82,000sqm in Halls 6-12 and 17-20 from 16 to 21 October. An nCC events spokesperson attributed the decision to demand for more space from exhibitors.nCC took over The neC tenancy slot from former International Caravan and Motorhome event organiser Clarion events and ran its first edition last October. After halving admission prices to £8 for adults, the organiser reported record-breaking attendance of 93,323 visitors, up 22,000 year-on-year.westfield stratford City has unveiled a new events venue within its One stratford Place building. The venue offers up to 2,000sqm of event space with floor to ceiling windows showcasing panoramic views of London, the Olympic Park and Athletes' Vil lage. The area is available until september 2012. "This exciting new venue at westfield stratford City is a unique opportunity for companies and brands to create bespoke events," said westfield director of development John Burton. "There is still the opportunity to take advantage of this event space during the Games and be a part of the greatest event in London." westfield has partnered with Fisher Productions to provide event production services. (Lunch! and Service Desk and IT Support Show), Informa Exhibitions (Intermodal Europe), and Quartz Business Media (WT Middle East 2012).Best Consumer Exhibition finalists are BBC Haymarket Exhibitions (BBC Gardeners' World Live and The BBC Good Food Show Summer, BBC Good Food Show Winter), Brand Events (Taste of London, Taste of Christmas 2011), Clarion Events (Spirit of Christmas Fair) and Media 10 (Ideal Home Show 2012).Other organiser-specific awards up for grabs this year are Marketing Campaign and Organiser Team Of The Year. The awards will also recognise venues, suppliers, stand and build, production design, unsung hero, innovation, sustainability and best use of social media. Full details are on the website: www.aeo.org.uk