Full-year closing 2023: Further consolidation of financial recovery

MCH Group was able to maintain its operating income at CHF 393.7 million in 2023. It posted operating EBITDA of CHF 16.5 million, an improvement of 18% over 2022. However, a negative special effect in the form of a one-off provision placed a significant burden on the net result. With this excluded, results are within the guidance for both EBITDA and the net result (CHF –9.8 million).

With the one-off special effect included, the loss for the year is CHF –14.0 million, and the adjusted EBITDA is CHF 12.3 million. In 2022, the EBITDA was achieved thanks to a number of positive, one-off special effects. The year-on-year increase from the purely operating business amounts to around CHF 12 million.
Thanks to the timely capital increase carried out in autumn 2022, the CHF 100 million bond was repaid in full in May 2023. This increased the equity ratio from 25.5% to 29.4%. The Group was able to further reduce its net debt from CHF 84.6 million to CHF 66.0 million. Cash and cash equivalents remain robust at CHF 65.7 million. The financial recovery of the Group has been further consolidated.

Strong performance of Live Marketing in the US, record year for guest events & congress business

Performances from the business areas were mixed. While MC2, Art Basel, and our guest events & congress business showed robust year-over-year growth, the performance of Expomobilia, MCH Global, and our own events in Switzerland was less satisfactory.
Third-party rentals of the infrastructure in Basel and Zurich have delivered impressive figures, achieving an all-time record year of 27 congresses and 23 guest exhibitions with over 500,000 visitors.
2023 was also a very strong business year for MC2, a full-service provider for brand experiences in the Live Marketing Solutions division.
Art Basel staged four very successful shows, while the Swiss Exhibitions & Events business ran the Giardina gardening fair, the Ilmac life science trade fair, and the Igeho catering and hotel trade fair amongst others.

Outlook for 2024 and beyond

Management remains optimistic for 2024, expecting EBITDA to improve further. Most importantly, the Group will do everything in its power to break even and ultimately become profitable again. In doing so, the focus will not only be on growth and expansion, but also on disciplining and cutting costs.
In order to ensure the long-term financial health of the company, two Group-wide programmes have been launched: one to develop the future Target Operating Model; the other to structure and streamline the financial organization including all financial systems.

  • The reorganisation of the Live Marketing Solutions (LMS) division with our three brands MC2, Expomobilia, and MCH Global. Under the leadership of Don Lee, CEO of MC2  US, the division will benefit from a leaner management structure.
  • Recruitment of a new CFO to replace Michael Hüsler, who’s decided to take on a new professional challenge. The company would like to express its gratitude and appreciation to Michael for all his efforts and support. The recruiting process for Michael Hüsler’s successor is at the finish line.
  • For Art Basel, plans include the expansion of the Partnership platform, with new and returning sponsors; the accelerated growth of Art Basel’s marketing channels, connecting Art Basel to an ever-broader global audience; and continued innovation in the digital realm.
  • The newly created position of Group Chief Information Officer has been filled with Daniel Marion. Daniel joins MCH Group from IWG and previously UEFA, where he was Chief of Information and Communication Technology. He starts on April 2, 2024.

“We’re proud of the record numbers posted by our events and congress business, as well as MC² in the USA, and the solid performance of Art Basel. However, we are aware there’s still much work to be done.”

Florian Faber, Group CEO

“We’re proud of the record numbers posted by our events and congress business, as well as MC2 in the USA, and the solid performance of Art Basel.” says Florian Faber, Group CEO. “However, we are aware there’s still much work to be done. Art Basel revenue growth and expansion are at an early stage, and our Target Operating Model (TOM) and cost management must improve; we have identified clear plans to achieve these targets.”

Key figures at a glance

Operating income393.7(394.1)
EBITDA without one-off special effect16.5
Loss for the year –14.0   (–9.3)
Loss for the year excl. one-off special effect–9.8 
Equity ratio29.4%(25.5%)
Cash and cash equivalents65.7(151.9)
Net debt66.0(84.6)
(in million CHF; numbers for 2022 in parentheses)

“We recognise the sustainable recovery of our Group profitability will only be achieved once the transformation is completed.” adds Andrea Zappia, Chairman of the Board. “We are confident that our strategy of growth and expansion is the right one, and with the underlying impact of our cost review plan, we’ll start seeing improvements in 2024 already.”