Easyfairs Expands Manufacturing Portfolio with Acquisition of Southern Manufacturing & Electronics

by Anna

Easyfairs, the world’s largest privately-owned exhibition organizer, has completed a significant acquisition by adding European Trade & Exhibition Services, the organizer of Southern Manufacturing & Electronics, to its extensive engineering and manufacturing portfolio. This strategic move enhances Easyfairs’ position as a leading player in the industry, complementing events like Advanced Engineering and reinforcing its commitment to the UK manufacturing sector.


Southern Manufacturing & Electronics, currently in its 26th edition, has established itself as a key event for the manufacturing technology sector in the UK. Scheduled from 6-8 February 2024 at Farnborough International Exhibition Centre, the event draws over 460 exhibitors, representing 600 companies, and attracts 9,000 attendees. Notably, it holds a unique position as the sole large-scale industrial engineering event in the South of England.


With a track record of managing 30 industrial events across nine countries, including flagship events like Advanced Engineering, Easyfairs solidifies its position in the market. Advanced Engineering, acquired by Easyfairs in 2015, has become the UK’s largest annual gathering of engineering and manufacturing professionals, offering insights into the future of the industry. This acquisition demonstrates Easyfairs’ commitment to fostering the growth of Southern Manufacturing & Electronics, utilizing its established network and technology platform.

Matt Benyon, Group CEO of Easyfairs, expressed enthusiasm about the strategic fit, stating, “Southern Manufacturing & Electronics is a perfect strategic fit for our growing portfolio, and 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.”

The addition of Southern Manufacturing & Electronics to Easyfairs’ portfolio creates a powerful offering covering the entire engineering and manufacturing value chain. While Southern Manufacturing & Electronics focuses on machinery, production equipment, electronic production, tooling, and subcontracting services, Advanced Engineering concentrates on product design, engineering, composites engineering, and advanced materials.

This acquisition not only enhances the comprehensiveness of the portfolio but also offers geographical diversity. With 35% of the 2.6 million people working in UK manufacturing based in the South of England, Southern Manufacturing & Electronics serves as a critical hub for the industry.

The Valentine family, who led Southern Manufacturing & Electronics as a family business, will remain involved as consultants, ensuring a smooth transition. Alison Willis, Managing Director of Easyfairs UK, emphasized the collaboration with the Valentine family, stating, “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.”

Phil Valentine, Founder of Southern Manufacturing & Electronics, expressed confidence in the partnership, stating, “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. It gives me great confidence and pleasure that Southern Manufacturing & Electronics is in the right hands for the future.”

Easyfairs will resume full operational control of the event from the end of February 2024, marking a new chapter in the development and success of Southern Manufacturing & Electronics under its stewardship.




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