Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Main Event targeting wedding market with M-Style

Published:Wednesday | April 11, 2018 | 12:05 AMSteven Jackson/Senior Business Reporter
Solomon Sharpe, CEO of Main Event Entertainment Group Limited, addresses shareholders at the company's annual general meeting, held at Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston on Monday, April 9, 2018.

Main Event Entertainment Group Limited created a new division called M-Style that will provide seating and equipment for events, including weddings, conferences and birthdays.

"Wouldn't you agree that the wedding market is significant?" said Main Event CEO Solomon Sharpe in an update to shareholders on Monday at the company's first annual general meeting as a listed company.

Through M-Style, Main Event will cut back on the number of third-party contractors it would need to stage events. The division is operational but is yet to have a formal launch.

M-Style will complement Main Events entertainment and marketing functions by offering a new "experience," Sharpe said, but he was silent on the division's growth potential.

"Previously, Main Event could not have necessarily played in the wedding market," said the CEO, because the company did not have the type of "elegant" seating to offer such events. M-Style has already been approached to do 12 weddings since its debut.

"It tells you that we are heading in the right direction," he said.

Main Event aims to invest $100 million to $150 million overall in acquiring new equipment this financial year. It would at least double the $56 million invested in fixed assets in 2017, expenditure that Sharpe indicated represented the acquisition of a warehouse to hold the equipment for M-Style.

"The new division is in the innovation stages, and it's called M-Style, and the books will show that the company purchased a 1,000-square-foot property in Kingston and will be launching a showroom shortly," he said.

Last year, Main Event reported annual profit of $101 million from revenues of $1.17 billion. For the company's first quarter ending January 2018, profit increased by nearly $10 million to

$33 million, a gain partly attributed to the reduction of expenses related to third-party contractors. Revenues rose from $333 million to $361 million year on year.

Post quarter, Main Event indicated that it benefited from carnival activities in Jamaica, which culminated in the road march on Sunday.

"Carnival will get bigger in Jamaica, where you have all the Trinidadian promoters bringing their parties over to Jamaica. That speaks to the enormity of the potential for our growth," said Sharpe.

"Remember, we are not just relying on the partygoers to go forward, but corporate is fully attached to things like this. And we are the place that corporate comes to help to move their business forward - to give their consumers that immersive experience along the way," he said.

Main Event continues its build-out into the north coast of Jamaica in an attempt to earn from local and tourist spend. Those efforts have included the forging of a relationship with Chukka Caribbean Adventures, which operates tours in the tourist belt.

"So whenever they have certain elements of work there, we are their first choice. We are looking to secure more of those relationships out west," Sharpe added.

Main Event was incorporated in 2004 by Sharpe and Chief Operating Officer Richard Bair, who took the company public last February and listed it on the junior market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

The company was valued at $600 million at market debut; its market value has since tripled to $1.86 billion.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com