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From the Managing Director

Stepping stones for growth

Managing Director Anni Vepsäläinen


Our centenary year was a great success: we had attendance records, we received awards, we spurred our clients to growth and we took significant steps towards our climate target to be 110% carbon neutral in 2029. All this is thanks to our top professional exhibition personnel, our magnificent innovative clients and our important partners.

We had a total of 1.1 million visitors as our guests. The most popular of our events was the Helsinki Book Fair and Wine and Food which was arranged simultaneously. Together they reached an all-time record, nearly 92 000 visitors.

The largest international congresses were the EAIE, Europe’s largest international higher education conference, the EUROSPINE-conference focused on research of spine diseases and the SETAC-conference on environmental chemistry. The HIMSS & Health 2.0 European Conference, organized for the first time in Finland, reached record attendance at Messukeskus.

For our work done within congress travel and the internationalization of Helsinki we received the Helsinki Travel Award. We ranked among the best in the TEP 2019 study as well, where Finnish business decision makers gave us the best ratings on high-quality and responsible business operations.

Last year we took a leap towards even more responsible operations and our target to be 110% carbon neutral in 2029: Together with energy company Helen we built one of Helsinki’s biggest solar power plants on the roof of our exhibition halls.

During our centennial year we opened a completely renewed hotel with restaurants, which increased the utilization rate of the hotel within the year. We will continue to develop our property and will open new experiential, modern and responsibly built event facilities. We will also continue to innovatively develop our services so that event participation will be more effective and easier for our clients.

Anni Vepsäläinen | Managing Director

Report of the Board of Directors 2019


The Liuku artwork, a gift by the Finnish Fair Foundation to Messukeskus in honour of its centenary.

10 000 company customers, 1,1 million visitors

In 2019, Messukeskus attracted 1,087,718 visitors. The public event that drew the greatest number of visitors was the Helsinki Book Fair – together with the Wine and Food Expo, held at the same time, it broke previous records with 91,952 visitors.

In addition to its own events, Messukeskus rents out its premises for guest events, meetings and congresses. The biggest guest events by amount of visitors were the Dog Fair Finland, the Slush event for startups and entrepreneurs, Assembly, which focuses on the gaming scene, the social media event Tubecon starring social media influencers, and the Pii Poo Lego-building event.

A total of 9 804 exhibitors participated in the events. 949 meetings and congresses were held. Among the largest international congresses were the European Association for International Education (EAIE) conference, which drew over 6,200 delegates from around the world to Finland, the Eurospine conference on back diseases with 3400 delegates, and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) conference with more than 2,000 participants.

Messukeskus 100 jubilee year

The Finnish Fair Corporation was founded 19.10.1919. The jubilee year was visible in the premises of Messukeskus, events and marketing communications. Messukeskus introduced its story as part of its renewed logo and anniversary slogan Messukeskus – A hundred years in the centre of events. In the anniversary media campaign An unforgettable beginning to dreams, clients and decision makers from different areas spoke about the significance events and encounters have had on their life and their career.

The fully renovated hotel Holiday Inn Helsinki-Expo and Messukeskus’ new restaurant Platta was opened at a large customer event in March. The anniversary theme “Initium” symbolises a new beginning and looking into the future. In October the work of art “Liuku”, donated by The Finnish Fair Foundation, was revealed in the Expo Plaza.

The long-term work of Messukeskus to promote congress tourism and the internationalisation of Helsinki was recognised at the end of the year with the Helsinki Travel Award.

Messukeskus given the best ratings by company leaders

Messukeskus received the best ratings from Finnish decision-makers in the TEP 2019 study recently published by the market research company Taloustutkimus.  In the survey, which is designed as a tool for business managers, business influencers are asked to rate some of the most significant Finnish businesses from a variety of industries. Messukeskus gained the best ratings due to its high-quality and responsible business operations. In the questions relating to the businesses’ image, participants were asked to rate the reliability, services, expertise of employees, customer service and CRM, speed of service, suitability of business premises, price-quality-ratio and marketing communications of the selected Finnish businesses.

Environmental responsibility promise: 110% carbon neutral Messukeskus in 2029

Messukeskus is part of the Climate Partners network of the City of Helsinki and the business sector. The network aims to make the city carbon neutral.  Messukeskus’ own climate goal is encapsulated in aiming to be a 110% carbon neutral events building by 2029 when Messukeskus will turn 110 years. Energy efficiency will be developed through a programme extending until 2025. The share of renewable energy was increased by building one of Helsinki’s largest solar power plants on the hall roofs in cooperation with the energy company Helen Oy.

Ticket income to welfare and work for everyone

Messukeskus and the events offer a unique supporting learning environment for students at Live vocational school. Students that need special tuition and individual support have on-the job training at events by for instance taking care of the cleanliness of the premises, selling products and substituting exhibitors during their pauses at the stands. Social responsibility was also strengthened by channeling part of the ticket income to climate change prevention, protection of the Baltic Sea, the welfare of children and young people and supporting womens’ entrepreneurship in developing countries. Cooperation with the Finnish UNICEF also continued.

Economic impact EUR 282 million

In the beginning of the report year, the first comprehensive survey of Messukeskus’ economic impact on the Helsinki Metropolitan Area was published. According to the survey done by Haaga-Helia business college, Messukeskus employs and brings income to the region at a value of EUR 282 million. The employment effect in the Helsinki region is 3 957 man-years, of which the immediate employment effect is 2 486 man-years. The increase in sales for hotels and restaurants in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area is 88 million euros. The survey took into account revenue from the exhibitors, exhibition visitors and meeting- and congress participants and the employment effects of the events.


The Finnish Fair Corporation is owned by its members. The corporation has 197 members, including enterprises, the City of Helsinki and the Finnish Fair Foundation.

Financial performance

Turnover and result

The Finnish Fair Corporation Group consists of the Finnish Fair Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiaries Expomark Oy, Helsingin Messut Oy, and SVV – Sound, Vision and Videoprojection.

In 2019, the Finnish Fair Corporation Group had a turnover of EUR 59.3 million (in 2018: EUR 56.4 million), representing year-on-year change of 5.2%. Of the subsidiaries, Expomark Oy saw a decrease in turnover by 61,9%, while the turnover of SVV – Sound, Vision and Videoprojection increased by 3,4% compared to the previous year.

Operating expenses came to EUR 56.7 million (55.7 million), of which planned depreciation accounted for EUR 10.4 million (9.6 million).

The Finnish Fair Corporation Group’s operating result improved compared to that of the previous year, amounting to EUR 2.6 million (1,2 million). The net profitability was 4.4% (2.1%).

The profit before appropriations and taxes came to EUR 2.3 million (0.8 million).


Cash flow from operations totalled EUR 12.6 million (11.5 million). Cash flow from investments totalled EUR -13.7 million (-17.7 million).

Loans were amortised by EUR 10.4 million.

Interest-bearing liabilities totalled EUR 5.5 million at the end of the financial year (15.0 million). The balance sheet total was EUR 116.6 million (125.8 million). The financial statement shows that the equity ratio was 85.2% (77.0%).

The debt ratio is 5.8%.


The Finnish Fair Corporation Group’s taxes were EUR -0.2 million (+0.3 million).


The Finnish Fair Corporation Group’s investments totalled EUR 13.9 million (22.8 million), representing 23.5% (40.4%) of the turnover. Premises-related replacement and maintenance investments amounted to EUR 11.1 million, information technology investments amounted to EUR 1.5 million, and AV technology purchases totalled EUR 1.3 million.

Outlook for 2020 

Growth strategy implementation will continue in 2020. The chosen growth projects are internationalisation of certain exhibition events, further development of the pricing strategy, pursuing growth in international company events and congresses and increasing solution selling and additional sales. At the same time the digitalisation and streamlining of business processes and systems will continue. Strong investment in responsibility will continue by i.a. expanding the solar power plant and by choosing energy efficient solutions.

Risks and uncertainties

The business of the Finnish Fair Corporation Group is sensitive to cyclic fluctuations. Success can only attend the trade fair business if enterprises are willing to exhibit at trade fairs in support of their marketing. A proportion of conferences and meetings are related to fairs. Furthermore, profits from technical services and rental services fluctuate in line with the exhibition programme. The exhibition portfolio of the Finnish Fair Corporation includes trade fairs in various sectors. This evens out the risk of cyclic fluctuations in any one sector.

Safety is an indicator of event quality. The safety and security expertise of Messukeskus includes comprehensive security systems, well-trained staff, well-maintained property, continuous surveillance, safety and security planning, and close cooperation with the authorities.

Systematic risk management is undertaken to avoid the realisation of personal and property risks. Non-life and business interruption insurance policies have been taken out to hedge against the financial impacts of risks.


During the year under review, the Finnish Fair Corporation Group employed, on average, 205 full-time employees (210) and two part-time employees (3). Wages and salaries totalled EUR 12.2 million (11.5 million).


Supervisory Board 31.12.2019

Chairman Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor

Vice Chairman Jussi Herlin, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors

Members and the year of termination of membership

AHLFORS GUNTA, Senior Expert, 2021

ALKIO KIMMO, President and CEO, 2022

ARAJÄRVI PENTTI, Doctor of Laws, 2021

BRAX TUIJA, Secretary General, 2020

ESKOLA JAAKKO, President and CEO, 2021

HEIKKILÄ TAAVI, General Director, 2022

HELANDER MIKKO, General Director, 2020

HIRVOLA JAAKKO, General Director, 2021

HURME ANNIKKA, President and CEO, 2022

HÄKÄMIES JYRI, President and CEO, 2022

JAATINEN TIMO, President and CEO, 2020

JORDAN KARI, Vuorineuvos, 2020



KOUSA TUULI, Director, 2021

KÄHKÖNEN MATTI, Vuorineuvos, 2020

LAPPALAINEN TIMO, President and CEO, 2021

MALINEN HEIKKI, President and CEO, 2020


MOISIO JUKKA, President and CEO, 2021


PESONEN JUSSI, President and CEO, 2022


VAURAMO PEKKA, President and CEO, 2020


The General Meeting held on 10 April 2019 re-elected the following members of the Supervisory Board for a three-year term: Timo Lappalainen, Matti Lievonen, Jukka Moisio and Ben Zyskowicz. The General Meeting also elected the following as new members of the Supervisory Board for the term ending in 2021: Gunta Alfors, Pentti Arajärvi, Tuuli Kousa and Jan Vapaavuori. The General Meeting also elected Jaakko Hirvola as the successor of Jorma Turunen for the term ending in 2020.

Members of the Supervisory Board received an attendance allowance of EUR 750 per meeting. In addition to attendance allowances, a monthly remuneration of EUR 750 was paid to the Chairman.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors has five members. As at 31 December 2019, the members of the Board of Directors are:


Mr Hannu Syrjänen | Chairman of the Board

Vice Chairman:

Mr Juha Rantanen | Vuorineuvos


Mr Sam Nieminen | CEO

Ms Leena Niemistö | Board professional

Ms Anu Nissinen I CEO

Members of the Board of Directors received an attendance allowance of EUR 2,000 per meeting in 2019. In addition to attendance allowances, a monthly remuneration of EUR 2,000 was paid to the Chairman.

Executive Board

Ms Anni Vepsäläinen, Managing Director

Mr Mikko Horppu, Director | Exhibitions business unit

Ms Kristina von Konow, Director | Events, Meetings and Conferences business unit

Ms Maria Mroue, Director, Marketing and Communications

Mr Jouni Mulari, Service Director

Mr Petteri Nissinen, CFO

Mr Mika Vakkilainen, Property and Production Director


Principal auditor

PricewaterhouseCoopers Oy, auditing firm


President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö

Combined numbers of members and shares in the Corporation

As at 31 December 2019, the Corporation had 197 members holding a total of 44,278 shares.

Proposal of the Board of Directors for distribution of the profit declared by the Finnish Fair Corporation


Retained earnings 4 757 509,29
Profit for the financial year 583 029,99
Amount disposable by the General Meeting
pursuant to the By-laws of the Corporation 5 340 539,28
The Board of Directors proposes that out of this amount:
a 6% interest payout on participation shares be paid 53 133,60
leaving under retained earnings: 5 287 405,68



Messukeskus personnel in 2019