Darmstadt, May 2019 – The last financial year was an extremely successful one in which the sci-ence and conference centre team achieved a record turnover once again, and operating profit in-creased fivefold compared to the previous year. As a result, darmstadtium's competitiveness has been further strengthened by targeted investments in technical infrastructure, totalling EUR 0.65 million.
Review of 2018
The positive business trend continued again in the financial year 2018. With 291 events and 151,000 registered guests, a new record turnover of EUR 5.79 million was achieved in 2018 (+5.5% com-pared to 2017). As compared to the previous year: (EUR +26k) darmstadtium achieved an operat-ing profit of EUR 148k. This amounts to more than a fivefold increase. Since the first full financial year, i.e. 2008, when there was still a deficit of EUR -2.9 million, the operating result has been trans-formed into an operating surplus of EUR 148k over the course of the years. Therefore, a financially balanced event organisation is no longer a mere theoretical possibility – it has actually been achieved for the second time now since the start of darmstadtium.
The settlement amount for the capital service obligation of Darmstadt City of Science decreased in comparison to 2017 by a further EUR 0.075 million to EUR 3.075 million. A further achievement was that during the year, the turnover level only fell to very modest levels during the holiday months, i.e. August and December. Furthermore, these months are used to carry out vital mainte-nance and repair works to ensure a continuing stable event operation in the months that are packed with events.
Visitor numbers were consistent but the number of events in 2018 was lower than the previous year by around 20 percent; the size and length of many of the events were greater, however, meaning that total revenue could be increased again. This increase in turnover also allowed darmstadtium to consolidate competitiveness within the events sector, with a vital investment of more than EUR 0.65 million in technical infrastructure. Consequently, the entire IT infrastructure has been re-newed and targeted investments have been made in heat damage prevention as well as projection, sound and lighting technology. This supports the company’s unique selling point, i.e. connectivity tailored to customer requirements. It has also made it possible to fulfil customer requests by provid-ing the latest laser technology in the area of image projection.
Noteworthy in 2018 were, for example, some large-scale events like the Curious Future Insights Conference, the Autodesk University, the Jugend Forscht nationwide final, Drupal Europe and the Sales Management Congress. Well-known conference events like hobit, konaktiva and the German HiFi-days were also a part of darmstadtium's event calendar. A special highlight was the interna-tional symposium ‘Nonviolence is the way’ with the Dalai Lama, as well as Nobel Peace Prize win-ners, Rebecca Johnson and Lech Wałęsa.
Satisfaction on the supervisory board
The supervisory board, which consists of representatives of Technische Universität Darmstadt and Darmstadt City of Science, commends the positive development of Darmstadt’s science and con-gress centre. "We are extremely pleased that the darmstadtium team has achieved commercial success in a highly competitive environment. The completed redesign of the congress centre's digi-tal infrastructure will be a major success factor for the future. It is no coincidence that the congress centre, located in the Digital City of Darmstadt with darmstadtium, is the leader of the connectivity revolution in the congress sector," says Supervisory Board Chairman and Mayor Jochen Partsch.
Outlook on a demanding 2019
Alongside a positive review of 2018, we can also look forward to diverse events in 2019. Large congresses like the Deutscher Verwaltungsgerichtstag, the academic conference Eurocrypt and the DG PARO annual conference are expected alongside the traditional formats that will draw many visitors to the city's congress centre. Despite the business success in 2018, the forecast for the coming year is more cautious. The level of bookings for 2019 is currently below the level in the previous year, due mainly to half a dozen unexpected cancellations that were contractually agreed, as well as postponements. As this loss of turnover for 2019 only became apparent at the end of last financial year, the top priority for the rest of this year will be to compensate for this loss, at least to some extent, by means of targeted acquisitions. Consequently, we forecast a reduction in turnover in 2019 for the first time in five years.
We will also be focusing on the cost side in 2019 and will continue our strategies to further optimise cost structures. Despite the expected minor decrease in turnover, event revenues are expected to increase again in 2020. It has now been 11 years since the inception of darmstadtium. The expendi-ture for maintaining buildings and operational equipment is expected to increase again in the coming years, amounting to nearly 20% of sales revenue. We therefore have a master plan for the upcom-ing investments, which is being continuously updated and further developed.
darmstadtium is represented at IMEX in Frankfurt, from 21 to 23 May, in Hall 8 at Stand G 130. The stand partner is vsonix GmbH, which specialises in video production and webcast solutions. Come and experience darmstadtium with a virtual site inspection. The 360-degree VR video enables visual and audible impressions, which were recorded at various events. Alongside a great deal of expert knowledge, there are also locally brewed beverages from Darmstadt, which provide an enjoyable end to the trade fair with further discussions.