New player behind Optrafair

The Federation of Manufacturing Opticians announces Optrafair partnership with Mark Allen Group

08 Sep 2015 by John White

Optrafair, the annual UK trade event for eye care practitioners held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, will be organised by new partners in 2016. The Federation of Manufacturing Opticians (FMO), the body which owns the trade show, has entered into partnership with MA Healthcare, a division of Mark Allen Group (MAG) to deliver the event. 

This news comes as Reed Business Information (RBI), the co-organiser of Optrafair in 2013 and 2014, announced that it has agreed to sell trade title Optician to MAG.

Explaining the decision to relinquish the weekly magazine, David Wilson, RBI managing director, is quoted on website Media Mergers saying: “The sale of Optician reflects the ongoing strategic priority for RBI of focusing on paid content and data solutions.”

In a statement on the MAG website, Ben Allen, chief executive of MAG, reiterated the importance of supporting Optrafair when making the decision to purchase the magazine. “I am delighted that, as the proud new owners of the Optician, we will be combining our knowledge of the healthcare industry with our expertise in organising large-scale events to deliver Optrafair, in partnership with the FMO. Working with the FMO to help further extend the opportunities for eye care professionals at Optrafair was one of the key factors in our decision to acquire Optician,” Mr Allen commented.

Barry Dibble, chairman of the FMO added: “Having spoken to the team at the Mark Allen Group, I am very excited about their ideas for developing Optrafair and in further establishing it as the must-attend event for visitors from the UK and around the world to experience the very best in eyewear, design, technology, business services and education.”

MAG is a publishing and events business with a wide-ranging portfolio of brands, including healthcare, education and leisure sectors. The MA Healthcare stable of conferences feature the London Nurse Show, Treating Schizophrenia, and the Ear, Nose and Throat national conference.

This year MAG has made a number of successful acquisitions, including music magazine, Songlines, and is in the process of acquiring The Airports Publishing Network Ltd. In April 2015 the company was highlighted as ‘one to recognise’ in the Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100 list of the fastest growing companies by profits in the UK.


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