Interview / Reed Expo:"We want a Cannes boat show useful to the boating industry, not legal proceedings."

Michel Filzi, President of Reed Expositions

Michel Filzi, president of Reed Expositions France, explains to his version of the current dispute with the Fédération des Industries Nautiques over the organisation of the Cannes Yachting Festival.

Can you remind us of the chronology of events that led to the legal proceedings in progress between Reed Expositions and the Fédération des Industries Nautiques?

Reed Expositions has been in charge of the organisation of the Nautic and Cannes Yachting Festival for many years, on behalf of the Fédération des Industries Nautiques (FIN). The latter decided to terminate our contract. We were informed by letter on 21 October 2016. At the same time, FIN initiated legal proceedings to denounce a clause in the contract which stipulates that Reed Expositions retains the organisation of the Cannes Yachting Festival for a period of 20 years after the termination of the contract, regardless of the cause.

Faced with the speech of the FIN, taking for granted, even before any decision by the courts, the resumption of the Cannes exhibition, Reed Expositions asked in mid-November 2016 the judge for interim measures of protection to proceed. This must allow the contract to be respected pending the judge on the merits. The least we can do is wait for the judge to do his job. The decision of the summary proceedings is expected on February 3, 2017.

What will happen after February 3, 2017?

Contrary to the FIN's claims, the date of 03 February 2017 is not a cut-off date. In fact, referred to it by Reed Expositions, either the Referee will order provisional measures in our sense, considering that there is an emergency, or he will consider himself incompetent and will refer the matter back to the court of first instance. Under no circumstances may the decision of the Cannes Yachting Festival give reason to FIN or grant it a right to organise the Cannes Yachting Festival.

Given the legal complexity of the case, it will take several months before the final decision is made.

What will happen in concrete terms for the Cannes Yachting Festival 2017 and the Nautic 2017?

The takeover of the Nautic by the FIN was done according to the terms of the contract and I never contested it.

As regards the Cannes Yachting Festival, marketing has already been launched since the autumn. It continues under good conditions. The yards have already started to register and their real concern is to know if they will have enough space to present all their boats. We will continue our work as usual with the team in place.

Concerning the staff, how is the transition with Nautic Festival SA, the new FIN structure dedicated to exhibitions?

In accordance with the Labour Code for a transfer of activity, full-time or mainly assigned persons were transferred to the new company on 20 December 2016. The team transferred for the Nautic consists of 2 sales representatives, 2 communication managers and 2 administrative assistants. On our side, the Cannes Yachting Festival team remains unchanged and guarantees the holding of events in good conditions.

How do you see the months ahead?

I am very serene about the judges' decision. The clause contested by FIN has existed since Reed Expositions acquired the exhibition in 1998. However, I am not an au-boutiste, I hope that a solution will be found with the FIN. My job is to organise trade fairs in the interests of the sectors.

We want the Cannes Yachting Festival to be useful to the yachting industry and the local economy, we are not looking for legal proceedings. It would be a pity to break the beautiful dynamic of this show which made it one of the very first exhibitions afloat in the world.

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