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NPE 2003 Exhibitors Commit to Nearly a Million Square Feet of Space, `Far Exceeding' Expectations of Show Organizers.

Business Editors/Chemical & Plastics Writers

NPE 2003 Drawing for Exhibit Space

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 8, 2002

An un-audited tabulation of space allocated at the NPE 2003 Drawing for Exhibit Space indicates that with fifteen months still remaining before the triennial plastics exposition, the amount of space taken by exhibiting companies already amounts to 84% of the final, at-show total for NPE 2000, it was announced today by The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI), sponsor of NPE.

The Drawing took place in Chicago on March 5-7.

The amount of space assigned at the Drawing totaled 965,100 sq.ft. (89,661 sq. meters). SPI officials said they did not expect the audited total to vary widely from this figure. The number of companies taking exhibit space was 906.

"We are absolutely delighted by the drawing results," said SPI President Donald K. Duncan. "At the close of a recession that hit our industry hard, the strong commitment by exhibiting companies far exceeds our expectations. This is a harbinger of better economic times, and we fully expect that NPE 2003 will surpass the record-setting 2000 show in both number of exhibitors and amount of exhibit space."

The amount of space assigned at the NPE 2000 Drawing officially totaled 1,039,300 sq.ft. (96,551 sq. meters) and was taken by 1,032 exhibiting companies.

Traditionally the number of companies taking space at NPE Drawings is far smaller than the total at the show itself. Exhibiting companies at NPE 2000, for example, totaled 2,014--nearly double the number at the Drawing.

The difference in the number of exhibiting companies at the 2003 Drawing compared with the 2000 Drawing is almost wholly accounted for by companies that are not SPI members and have never exhibited at an NPE, according to NPE 2003 Show Director Barbara Voss. "By the rules of the Drawing, such companies are the last to draw for space and do not greatly benefit by participating 15 months before the show," she said. "Input from these firms in the months prior to the Drawing indicated a wait-and-see attitude in view of the economic climate. As conditions change, we expect to see these companies join the list of exhibitors at NPE 2003."

At NPE Drawings, SPI utilizes a system designed to allocate space democratically. Rather than directly determining the size and location of an exhibitor's space, SPI assigns drawing priority according to the number of previous NPEs in which a company has exhibited and whether or not it is an SPI member. Within each category, the order in which space is selected by companies is determined by a random drawing.

NPE 2003, the premiere international plastics exposition, will take place from June 23 to 27 at Chicago's McCormick Place, North America's largest exhibition complex. Founded and sponsored by the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI), the triennial show will be the 24th NPE since 1946.

The 2000 show set three NPE records: number of exhibiting companies (2,014), net exhibit space (1,142,900 sq.ft. / 106,179 square meters), and number of registered participants (90,142). Visit www.npe.org. For information on exhibiting, e-mail Hall-Erickson, Inc. at npe@heiexpo.com.

Founded in 1937, The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., is the trade association representing one of the largest manufacturing industries in the United States. SPI's 1,500 members represent the entire plastics industry supply chain, including processors, machinery and equipment manufacturers, and raw material suppliers.

The U.S. plastics industry employs 1.5 million workers and provides more than $330-billion in annual shipments. For more information visit SPI on the Web at www.plasticsindustry.org.
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