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ITE Looks to Make Further Acquisitions in India, Southeast Asia

ITE Group Plc, the London-based international events organizer that does most of its business in Russia, is looking to make acquisitions in India, Turkey and southeast Asia.

The company expects to make further purchases in India and possibly Turkey over the next year, Chief Executive Officer Russell Taylor said today. The “right” acquisition in China may take as long as three years to find, he said.

“We are planning to progressively invest our cash balances,” Taylor said in a telephone interview. “We are looking at countries like Indonesia and Malaysia and you can never ignore the possibility of investing in China.”

ITE, which operates in more than 30 countries, bought two companies in Ukraine and one in India in the fiscal first half and is due to complete another purchases in India in the next few days, Taylor said. Acquisitions accounted for two-thirds of the increase in first-half revenue.

ITE had net cash of 16.4 million pounds on March 31, compared with 5.5 million pounds on Sept. 30 after free cash flow of 32.7 million pounds in the first half. Its biggest acquisition in the past five years cost 33 million euros ($42 million), according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Net income in the six months ended March 31 surged 89 percent to 5.1 million pounds ($8.1 million), or 2.1 pence a share, from 2.7 million pounds, or 1.1 pence, a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Revenue rose 29 percent to 68.6 million pounds.

On a same-store basis revenue booked so far in the current year is 6 percent ahead of this time last year.

The shares rose as much as 3.9 percent in London trading, the most since March 14. They were up 2.2 pence, or 1.1 percent, at 207.2 pence at 9 a.m., lifting the gain so far this year to 1.3 percent.

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