Comdex sucks air

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Organisers of the Comdex tech trade Expo in Las Vegas are predicting a roll up about the same as last year's disastrous post September 11 event.

In its 23rd year, organisers are expecting the 2002 show to attract around 125,000 visitors and 1000 exhibitors, well down on the 1685 that showed their wares in 2001 and less than half of 2000's 2237.

"We didn't make the economy. We only reflect it," said Fred Rosen, chief executive of Comdex organisers Key3Media. "Comdex is not bigger than the industry it serves," he said.

However Rosen said despite vendor defections to consumer shows and their own events, Comdex is still relevant, pointing to keynotes by Microsoft's Bill Gates and HP's Carly Fiorina as examples.

Last week, Key3Media announced it is considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following a US$316 million third quarter loss. Other options include a merger or sale.

Key3Media booked net loss of US$316 million in the third quarter, compared to US$3.7 million for the same period in 2001. The loss included a one-off US$300 million charge for a reduction in goodwill.

Revenue for the quarter dropped to US$38.4 million, down from US$51.5 million in the corresponding period a year ago.


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