United Newspapers buys two Far Eastern groups

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The Independent Online
ONLY days after spending dollars 100m on buying Harmon Publishing, a US magazine publisher, United Newspapers is purchasing two Far East businesses, writes Gail Counsell.

It is buying the Hong Kong International Trade Fair Group, an exhibition and trade show business based in Hong Kong, for dollars 35m in cash plus up to a further dollars 9m depending on performance.

The company, founded by Themistocles Vokos, who is staying on, runs seven exhibitions on subjects ranging from leather and shipping to cosmetics.

In 1993 it made pre-tax profits of dollars 2.74m on revenues of dollars 9.78m. Net assets were dollars 100,000.

United Newspapers is also buying out the 58 per cent it does not already own of Asian Business Press, a controlled circulation business magazine company based in Singapore. ABP has net assets of dollars 1.4m.

Graham Wilson, United Newspapers' managing director, said that the two companies would form the 'twin bases' of the group's Asian interests.

They will continue to be managed separately, but will work together on exploiting joint opportunities. Marshall Freeman, a United director, becomes responsible for co-ordinating Asian activities.

United's shares fell 4p to 723p.