Prashant Saha, Managing Director, CIMGLOBAL started Conferences & Incentives Management in 1997 and CIM Global today has a presence in seven major cities of India along with international offices. Prashant diversified into Association management/consulting taking the client servicing factor of the PCO, a step further. He is recognized as an authority on matters related to the MICE Industry and even been invited many times by various countries to talk about Associations and Conference market, the latest being in Sri Lanka.
CIMGLOBAL, founded in 1997, has etched a niche for itself and its success story spans in the Association Management, Meeting Management, and Corporate Activation since its inception. The company has extended its services to various government organizations, educational institutions, trade bodies, associations as well multinational corporations. Managed by a team of experienced professionals with extensive local and international industry exposure, CIMGLOBAL continuously strives to keep up with the latest in technology and solutions.
Replying to Anil Mascarenhas of IIFL, Prashant Saha says, “CIMGLOBAL realizes that India is certainly short of quality convention/expo venues, resulting in its failure in attracting large conventions and expo businesses to India.”
What is the business model of CIMGLOBAL?
CIMGLOBAL is a professional conference organizer, hence we sell our management services and charge professional management fee. CIMGlobal aims to bring quality education for the industry professionals and create common platform for members, association and service providers.
How many events have you organized so far? Typically what are the profit margins in such a business?
We have done more than 800 conferences, out of which 300 are international conferences. Business is not as lucrative like it is in other developed countries where this is an organized sector. Hence profit margins varies from 15-22% depending on project
What kind of cooperation do you get from countries where you host such events?
Convention business has a very strategic approach in many countries such as Vienna, Vancouver etc, however India has a long way to go for such an approach. Convention Infrastructure and convention promotion bureaus are the need of the hour.
Tell us about some of your flagship events and what lies in store in the coming years?
COSPAR2012, the premier conference in space research; WWW2011, world wide web conference on web technology where Sir Tim Berners Lee himself attended; IFC2011, international forging conference which won many accolades to our country are some of the events handled by CIMGLOBAL. We also have many prestigious event lined up like the Indian Science Congress 2013, which is known as the mother of all research conferences, where our Hon. PM is the chairman of the conference. PanIIT where more than 5000 IITian minds meet for a better tomorrow are among the other events in the pipeline.
Typically how many people participate in such events? What is the business turnover that happens?
Participation may vary from 500 to 10000; many premier international conferences are of an average 1000 delegates. Business turnover may differ from one event to other.
Any specific verticals you cater to?
We mainly focus on Association conference, both trade and professional ones.
You have done some training for professionals in the industry. Tell us more about it.
Education plays a major role for skill development, especially in the service industry. CIMGLOBAL has been a pioneer in the industry, organized several training programs, including sharing best practices among its peer groups, namely IAPCO India Seminar, India Association Congress, Training for capacity Building for Sri Lanka Convention Bureau etc.
Brief us on your financials. What is your goal?
Our company being a pvt ltd, it is internally funded. It maintained steady growth of 15% yoy (except during 2001 and 2009). Started with an initial capital of Rs1,70,000, the company has come a long way. Always a cash positive company since its inception, company also has assets in Delhi and Bangalore. Its business pipeline is secured, and has projects booked till a 2014.Our goal is to acquire growth and international recognition.
What is the vision for your company?
I would really want to organise this sector, open conventions in India to the world resulting in tourism economy impact and create job opportunities
What kind of advance bookings do you usually have?
Usually 3 to 5 year prior to the event. In some cases we have booked business 8 years in advance too.
Comment on your presence in India.
We have 7 offices and around of 75 professionals. Our headquarter is in Delhi NCR and our company has offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad.
Brief us on your international presence?
We have office in Dubai and Singapore; we are the only Indian company with international presence in its category.
Tell us more about your tie-up with CONGREX SA. What is the revenue sharing here?
The new agreement is a powerful combination of Congrex international expertise and CIMGlobal’s market knowledge and experience in India. Congrex and CIMGlobal have already initiated bidding processes for conferences and events scheduled for India in its dynamic markets. The exclusive collaboration will secure a new presence in the Indian market for which Congrex and CIMGlobal can together provide professional management services for international associations, corporations and governmental organisations on an extended scale in one of the world’s most important growing markets.
You are also in talks with real estate developers. Brief us on the same?
CIMGLOBAL realizes that India is certainly short of quality convention/expo venues, resulting in its failure in attracting large conventions and expo businesses to India. CIMGLOBAL is in advance talk with GMR, Bestech, Harmony Lifestyles for building convention center in India. It also has strategic technical tie up with GL Events, France, world’s largest venue management company with 33 convention venues worldwide.
How has the journey been so far?
The journey has been difficult and I have learnt a lot and of course there is lot more to be achieved and learnt.
Briefly take us through growth strategy?
Our company has ambitious plans for growth, and recently tied up with the world’s largest player (CONGREX SA) in the business for accelerate its growth. Company also acquired a media company (INK Media) in Mumbai to consolidate its position in the market, and also increase its service offerings. Company is also in talks with several real estate developers to develop quality convention/exhibition venues in India and abroad.
What is your USP?
We have in-depth local knowledge and we deliver international high standards.
What are the big challenges going ahead?
Infrastructure and government strategic approach to recognize MICE industry not part of Tourism only, but as part of Industry and Commerce. Conventions, Exhibitions creates common platform for knowledge and trade exchanges, and whose value/ROI goes beyond normal tourism revenue. As per EU, Germany’s MICE ROI is in the tune of 756 billion euro last year.
What is the shareholding pattern of the company?
It is a Limited company, with shares held by promoter directors only.