A little more than 2 years after the Fédération des Industries Nautiques (FIN) broke off its contract with Reed Expo to organise the Nautic and Cannes Yachting Festival, the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance handed down its verdict. He ruled in first instance in favour of the FIN by cancelling the clause guaranteeing Reed the organisation of the Cannes boat show until 2041 and confirmed the ownership of the event at the FIN. Michel Filzi, President of Reed Expo, was kind enough to answer BoatIndustry's questions about its future legal actions, but also about the exhibition and its 2019 edition.
Does Reed Expo intend to appeal the decision of the Paris TGI?
The court's judgment did not include an enforceable order. We will therefore obviously appeal this decision. Our objective remains to ensure that the principle of the commitments made by the FIN is recognised. Article 9.3 (Editor's note: the provision to leave the organisation of the exhibition to Reed for a given period of time after the end of the contract) was not created by spontaneous generation. It existed in 2007 and was expected 10 years after the end of the contract. It was extended to 20 years in 2011 with the agreement of FIN when the contract was renewed. I insist, it is a question of having the principle of honouring commitments recognised beyond the economic interests of the parties.
Will you continue the investments announced at the Cannes Yachting Festival?
We will obviously continue to invest in the show as we have always done, and also in the 2017 and 2018 editions. There is no change in the announced strategy.
FIN states that "the court even expressly prohibited Reed from presenting himself as the organiser of the Yachting Festival to anyone" Does this influence?
There is no enforceable order, which allows us to appeal. We are preparing the Cannes Yachting Festival as we would have done in the event of a reverse court decision.
What about exchanges with exhibitors regarding the sailing relocation project in Port Canto? Do you think that the decision could change this issue?
Exhibitors have made themselves known and are being discussed. There were several exchanges and meetings until Christmas. We've made good progress. This concerns economic conditions and modus operandi, not the principle itself of sailing in Port Canto. The judgment does not influence this policy and strategy. It is not up to clients and exhibitors to suffer the effects of a conflict between private persons. Indeed, the court refused the publication of the judgment insofar as it concerns only private interests, ruling out the idea of a danger for the boating sector, as had already been done by the Competition Authority.