AKRON, OHIO (July 27, 4:00 p.m. EST) — Crain Communications Inc., the publisher of Plastics News, announced July 27 that it is buying the plastics industry trade shows of Advanstar Communications Inc. Terms were not disclosed.
Crain assumes control of the Plastics Fair Expos and the Western Plastics Expo, which includes the Western Powder Show. In 2001, Crain will stage the three shows already announced by Advanstar — WPE on March 20-22 in Anaheim, Calif.; Plastics Fair Cleveland on June 19-21; and Plastics Fair Atlanta Nov. 13-15.
Linda Whelan, Plastics News marketing director, will head the trade-show efforts. Robert Grace, editor/associate publisher of the newspaper, will coordinate conferences that run with the shows. Both have been with the paper since its founding in March 1989.
Traditionally, Crain Communications has taken a conservative stance when it comes to holding its own trade shows. The Detroit-based company publishes 30 consumer and trade publications and business newspapers.
"From Crain's standpoint, up to now we have not been real active in developing trade-show divisions," said Robert S. Simmons, publications director of Akron-based Plastics News and a Crain vice president. "This is really the first major acquisition by Crain relating to trade shows."
The publishing company already runs two trade shows and conferences linked to its trade magazines — the UTech series of polyurethane industry shows and conferences, and the International Tire Exhibition and Conference (ITEC). Both of those events were startups.
Simmons said Crain has been looking to enter the plastics trade-show market for several years.
"This move allows us to add these long-established expos to our portfolio, while also avoiding adding any new shows in an already-crowded market," he said.
Advanstar, based in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, has operated the regional Plastics Fairs for more than 20 years. The shows used to be linked to several Advanstar plastics magazines, but that relationship ended in 1994 when the company stopped publishing Plastics Machinery & Equipment, Plastics Compounding, Plastics Design Forum and Advanced Composites.
The purchase by Crain Communications returns that trade-magazine linkage to the shows. Advanstar will provide some operating support during the transition period, according to the agreement.
In recent years, Plastics News has been increasing its event sponsorship by organizing annual Executive Forums and a recent E-Business Briefing.
"I am very confident that we will be able to breathe new life into these events," said Tony Eagan, vice president and Plastics News publisher.
He noted Grace's experience compiling speaker programs, and Whelan's track record with events staging.
Meanwhile, changes in the plastics trade-show landscape means Plastics News will go head-to-head against two competitors, Injection Molding Magazine and Modern Plastics, which both are owned by VS&A Communications Partners II LP, based in New York.
Earlier this year, Canon Communication LLC announced it was launching two regional plastics shows in 2001. The first one, Plastec West, is scheduled for Jan. 8-10 in Anaheim — two months before the Plastics News show in the same city. Canon is owned by VS&A.
The January Canon show will be collocated with the Medical Design & Manufacturing West and the Pacific Design & Manufacturing shows.