Ipex has suffered its second major blow in two months with the withdrawal of Heidelberg, the second largest exhibitor at the 2010 event.
The shock move by the German press manufacturer follows HP’s decision not to exhibit at the event, which means that the show's two largest exhibitors in 2010 will not be at the 2014 event. Speaking at the time of HP's announcement, Heidelberg UK managing director Gerard Heanue said: "We have signed a contract and we’re going."
However, according to Heanue the contract had a ‘walk away’ clause that Heidelberg decided to exercise.
"We had a great Drupa, and we then started to analyse how we approached different markets. When we looked at Western Europe we realised that most of the deals were already done before because it’s now much more of a complex sale, where we go through the ROI and different applications etc. So it’s a significantly more technical and financial sale than the old days – when people just used to come and sign," he said.
"So we looked at our spend on trade shows and decided that two trade shows in Europe was probably not the best way of maximising our ROI. The focus [for shows] will now be China and South America and obviously Drupa."
He stressed that Heidelberg’s decision wasn’t purely a financial one. He also added that the company’s UK showroom can demonstrate the same kit that it would have bought to Ipex on a daily basis.
"It’s sad really, we think that Ipex’s decision to move to London was the right one, and we hope it goes well. It just doesn’t fit with our model," added Heanue.
In a statement, Informa print group director and Ipex event director Trevor Crawford said: "We are very disappointed in Heidelberg’s decision to withdraw from Ipex 2014 – one of the industry’s major global events. Heidelberg has long been synonymous with printing and has a long association with Ipex. As organisers of a range of exhibitions around the world, we will continue to have an ongoing dialogue with them."
Informa said that Heidelberg’s decision will be "addressed in detail" at the next Ipex Advisory Council meeting, which is scheduled for late September. However, it cited the number of major players that have already committed to the show, including Canon, Duplo, EFI, Fujifilm, Kodak, Komori, Konica Minolta, Muller Martini, Pitney Bowes, Presstek, Screen, Xeikon and Xerox.
David Preskett, president of Ipex 2014 and European professional print director, Canon Europe said: "Ipex has a rich heritage and tradition for innovation, and plans are well underway with the IAC and other industry associations to ensure that Ipex 2014 captures the rapid changes taking place in our industry as print continues to evolve as a key element in the new order marketing mix."
More to follow...