Basel Fair to merge with Zurich Fair to become `Swiss Exhibition Ltd.’

Two major Swiss trade fair organizations – Messe Basel (The Basel Fair), which runs the world’s largest watch and jewelry trade show, and Messe Zürich (The Zurich Fair) – have announced they will merge.

“The merger will strengthen the global competitiveness and market position of both companies,” the two said in a joint statement earlier this year. They expected that “by joining forces and pooling their resources … a number of competitive advantages will be gained, including enhanced customer orientation, a higher profile for both Basel and Zurich, increased earnings and a significant growth in turnover.”

The new joint holding company will be known as MCH Messe Schweiz AG (MCH Swiss Exhibition Ltd. ), effective June 29 (barring any delays), when it is listed on the Swiss stock exchange. The finalization of the deal was announced June 25, after Zurich Fair’s shareholders approved the merger. The merger had previously been okayed by the boards of directors of both organizations. The former chairman of the Basel Fair will be the chairman of the new organization.

The merger isn’t expected to affect the annual world watch and jewelry show in Basel, Switzerland (next year on Apr. 4 –11)., or plans for a new simultaneous show in Zurich in 2003 called “Basel Partners” featuring the Basel show ’s equipment and service vendors.