Informa H1 2021 revenue and net debt fall, but group says confidence is returning in event portfolio

Global exhibitions and events group Informa announced its financial results for the six-month period ended June 30, 2021 on July 28, demonstrating the strength of its subscription-based business and restoring confidence across the board. its portfolio of B2B events. H1 2021 sales and results are however down compared to the same period Last year.

Group chief executive Stephen A. Carter (pictured) said the physical events business “is increasingly returning to mainland China and gradually rebuilding itself in North America and the Middle East, with bookings coming to an end positive results and growing business confidence “. Clearly, however, there are persistent restrictions and uncertainties in other parts of the world and we continue to monitor the rules and easing approaches country by country ”.

He added: “Over the next three years, a growth acceleration plan will focus on ensure further growth in subscriptions and services, a gradual resumption of physical events and a continued expansion of our digital service portfolio, to meet growing customer demand for data-driven digital solutions across all of our businesses.

H1 2021 financial highlights for Informa included reported statutory revenue of £ 688.9million (US $ 961.7million), up from £ 814.4million in H1 2020, and profit adjusted1 operating costs of £ 69.2 million (H1 2020: £ 118.6 million) reflecting the various impacts of the pandemic on physical event activity over the first half of 2020 and 2021.

A reduction in one-off costs related to Covid and a decrease in non-cash intangible amortization resulted in an improvement in the statutory operating loss to – £ 58.0m (H1 2020: – £ 739.9m).

The group reported high cash conversion, supported by strong subscription renewals, positive term bookings and low reimbursement levels, had generated free cash flow of £ 134.1 million (H1 2020: £ 71.3million).

Figures for the first half of 2021 also reflect a reduction in net debt to £ 1,890.1million (FY2020: £ 2,029.6million). The financial situation and growing confidence in the outlook was reflected in the investment grade status of Fitch, Moodys and Standard & Poors.

The revenue forecast for the 2021 transition year has been raised to £ 1,800m (from £ 1,700m), with an expected adjusted operating profit of £ 375m after currency effects.

In Informa’s three main geographic markets (North America, Mainland China, Middle East), the company said it is seeing a gradual return to physical events business alongside growing demand for digital services. , with good customer support and a gradual change in bookings until 2022.

For 2021-2024, Informa will implement its Growth Acceleration Plan (GAP II), a program aimed at accelerating its market specialization strategy and increasing digitization in all of its activities.

Turning to group division highlights, Informa Markets reported H1 2021 revenue of £ 187.6million, compared to H1 2020 figures of £ 282.1million .

In 2021, Informa says it “continues to make brand-by-brand planning decisions, considering customer feedback and focusing on long-term value. For certain markets and brands, such as Construction (concrete world) and Health (Arab Health / Medlab), this has allowed us to run more focused off-cycle events this year, supported by additional marketing support and continued investment in AllSecure safety and health measures. For others, like Brand Licensing (Licensing Fair) and environmental services (WWETT), we are focusing our efforts on 2022. In the next quarter we will be hosting events in CyberSecurity (Black hat), Fashion (Magic) and Health & Nutrition (Eastern Natural Products Fair), among others ”.

Demand for face-to-face platforms remains strong, according to the company,more and more evident as more and more markets open up, especially among commercial SMEs, for whom the fair remains very valuable ”.

“In mainland China,” says Informa,In the last 12 months since the reopening, we have seen a steady and gradual upturn in physical event activity, as some of our major brands in Beauty & Aesthetics (Beauty Salon in China), more than made up for the lack of international participation by national force. Reservation change trends in the region for 2022 are strong, with the potential for total revenues in mainland China to return to close to 2019 levels, even if international quarantine measures remain in place, as does limited cross-border participation.

“In North America and the Middle East, the return schedule is a year behind China, with sales cycles, and active decisions to be made between an off-cycle return in 2021 or a cycle return in 2022.

“Where we have already brought our brands back to market in North America and the Middle East, attendance levels have been overall as expected, with exhibitor numbers representing around half of 2019 levels and overall attendance. about 35 to 40%.

“We expect participation levels to increase over time and this is evident in the commitments we have for later in 2021, especially when brands are operating on a favorable industry calendar cycle. We are seeing a gradual rebooking for 2022, which gives us increased confidence in our period of growth and recovery expected until 2021-2024. “

Informa adds that its balance sheet remains “secure, with cash reaching £ 1.5 billion, no financial covenant on any of our group-level borrowings and no debt maturing until 2023.”

Ann J. Cox