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22 February, 2024

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Southern Manufacturing has a new owner

11 January, 2024

Easyfairs, which describes itself as the world’s largest privately owned exhibition organiser, is buying European Trade & Exhibition Services (Etes), which organises the UK’s annual Southern Manufacturing & Electronics exhibition. The 2024 event, which takes place at the Farnborough International Exhibition Centre from 6–8 February, will be run by Etes, but Easyfairs will take over after that. The details of the transaction have not been revelaed.

Southern Manufacturing & Electronics is the only large-scale industrial engineering event in the South of England, tapping into the 35% of people who work in UK manufacturing who are based in the South of England. Next month’s show in the 26th in the series. In the past, it has attracted more than 460 exhibitors (representing 600 companies) and 9,000 visitors.

The new owner, Easyfairs, organises 30 industrial events in nine countries, including Advanced Engineering, Advanced Manufacturing and All About Automation. Advanced Engineering, which EasyFairs bought in 2015, is one of the biggest in its portfolio, and is described as the UK’s largest annual gathering of engineering and manufacturing professionals.

While Advanced Engineering focuses on product design and engineering, composites engineering and advanced materials, Southern Manufacturing & Electronics has a core of exhibitors displaying machinery, production equipment, electronic production, tooling and subcontracting services.

“Southern Manufacturing & Electronics is a perfect strategic fit for our growing portfolio,” says Easyfairs CEO, Matt Benyon. “As part of an established stable of industry-leading events, the event’s future development and its loyal exhibitor and visitor base that has been built up over the last 30 years will be in very safe hands.”

Until now, Southern Manufacturing & Electronics has been run as a family business, led by founders Phil Valentine and Jo Valentine, who will remain involved as consultants.

Under new ownership: the Southern Manufacturing & Electronics show

“The knowledge and experience that the Valentine family bring, combined with the strength of Easyfairs pan-European network of industrial trade shows, our advanced technology platform, and the obvious synergies within the Easyfairs portfolio will certainly drive the next phase in the event’s development,” says Alison Willis, managing director of Easyfairs UK

“We could not be more delighted to reach this agreement with Easyfairs,” adds Phil Valentine. “As a family business, founded exactly 30 years ago, we were always going to be cautious to choose the right company to take the event forward as and when we were in a position to sell. We have built a strong relationship with Matt and the team at Easyfairs over many years; we are therefore confident that there is a close synergy with the values of our businesses, despite the difference of scale, and it gives me great confidence and pleasure that Southern Manufacturing & Electronics is in the right hands for the future.”

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