16 September 2020

Italian Exhibition Group S.p.A. (IEG), a leading company in Italy for the organization of international trade fairs, has reached an agreement for the full acquisition of HBG Events FZ LLC, an event organiser based in the United Arab Emirates.

HBG Events has organised the annual, co-located “Dubai Active”, “Dubai Active Industry” and “Dubai Muscle Show”, since 2016, which collectively is the largest fitness event in the Middle East.


Discussions between the two parties started before the 2019 edition, which was the largest and best attended to date, with an area covering 18,500 square meters and an attendance of over 25,000 fitness professionals and enthusiasts.

For 15 years, IEG has been organizing Rimini Wellness in Italy, which is one of the premier events in the world within the fitness, wellness and sport sectors. The event has developed into one of the largest of its kind with: over 200,000 attendees, 400 exhibiting brands, 170,000 square meters indoor and outdoor, 200 conferences, meetings and professional seminars, 1,500 hours of instruction and workouts, as well as over 2000 training sessions.


Strategically, IEG sees the acquisition of HBG Events as the first step towards creating a worldwide network of fitness events under the aegis of Rimini Wellness.


Les Mills Class Dubai Active Show


The Middle East represents one of the highest growth fitness markets in the world, with great potential for European companies to expand their business. The acquisition is seen as an unrivalled opportunity for the European fitness market to access the extraordinary potential of the Middle East.


There is ongoing government investment into the sports and fitness sector in the region, including for example, the Dubai Sports Council 10-year strategic plan, creating opportunities for global and local brands to expand and thrive.
“Our mission in the world of trade fairs” – comments Corrado Peraboni, CEO of IEG – “is to generate global business opportunities for companies, while developing commercial platforms and events that connect knowledge and innovation. This mission, launched just after the 2019 edition of Rimini Wellness, includes the acquisition of HBG Events, with the intention of creating new opportunities for our clients, contributing to the training of fitness professionals, and thus fuel the demand for health and well-being worldwide. We look forward to also export some of the innovative products that have built our leadership in the market, such as FoodWell, which is dedicated to Italian excellence in wellness nutrition “.



The Directors of HBG Events; Nick Blair, Craig Hartley and Deep Marwaha, who have been so fundamental to the growth of HBG Events, will be remaining as senior management for the foreseeable future, and are very excited for the future of the Dubai-based shows. They stated:


“We are extremely proud of what the team at HBG Events has created with Dubai Muscle Show, Dubai Active, and Dubai Active Industry. Since its launch in 2016, the event has seen huge growth year-on-year, which is a testament to the work of an amazing team, but also a reflection of the huge growth and potential of the market. The Middle East fitness industry is booming, with gym memberships per capita increasing every year, and an increasing number of investors and entrepreneurs entering the market.


We are very excited to be joining forces with one of the largest fitness events in the world, Rimini Wellness, and look forward to seeing how we can take the event to the next level by strengthening ties with the international fitness community and utilizing the increased global resources that IEG are able to bring.”


Dubai based HBG Events FZ LLC (HBG) was created in 2016 as an exhibition organiser concentrated on the fitness, wellness and active-living sectors.
HBG’s co-located flagship shows; Dubai Muscle Show, Dubai Active, and Dubai Active Industry collectively represent the largest, most diverse fitness event in the Middle East with an annual attendance of over 25,000 fitness professionals and attendees.
In 2019, discussions began with IEG about a possible acquisition, and this purchase was finalised in 2020.


Italian Exhibition Group (IEG), publicly listed on the Mercato Telematico Azionario (MTA) managed by Borsa Italiana SpA, is a leader in Italy for the organization of trade fairs. It is among the main operators at European level, with ownership/operation of the main exhibition centres in Rimini and Vicenza, and has offices in Milan and Arezzo.
IEG currently specialises in the organization of events in five categories: Food & Beverage; Jewellery & Fashion; Tourism, Hospitality and Lifestyle; Wellness, Sport and Leisure; Green & Technology.
In recent years, IEG has embarked on an important path of expansion abroad, including joint ventures with local organisers in key markets (e.g. United States, United Arab Emirates and China).
IEG closed their 2019 financial statements with total consolidated revenues of 178.6 million euro, an EBITDA of 41.9 million and a consolidated net profit of 12.6 million.
In 2019, IEG totalled 48 organized or hosted trade fairs and 190 congress events.