Following 2020 Full Year Results on 22 April, the Informa Group issued a statement, 3 June, saying it continued to trade in line with expectations and remained on track to deliver the baseline revenue target for the 2021 Transition Year of at least £1.7bn, as well as remaining cashflow positive, underpinned by improving underlying revenue growth in its two subscriptions-led businesses.
The group said it was seeing a progressive return of physical events, led by Mainland China, but with measured confidence in return and recovery across its major brands in its two other major markets, the US and Middle East.
Stephen A. Carter (pictured), group chief executive, Informa PLC, said: “Further strength in Informa’s subscriptions-led businesses and measured confidence in the progressive return of physical events in Mainland China, North America and the Middle East, is delivering further stability and security.”
He added: “We remain on track to deliver our revenue commitments through the 2021 Transition Year, whilst continuing to generate positive cashflows. Improving growth in subscriptions, ongoing expansion in Digital Services and the enduring strength of our B2B brands and platforms, gives us increasing confidence in Revitalisation and Growth through 2022-2024.”
Informa’s statement said its actions to preserve cash and manage costs through 2020 continued to provide strength and flexibility in its balance sheet.
Three major credit rating agencies post-results confirmed Informa’s investment grade status, including an inaugural rating by Fitch (BBB-, Stable Outlook), alongside Standard & Poors (BBB-, Negative Outlook) and Moody’s (Baa3, Negative Outlook).
The group said it had an “ongoing commitment to virtual and hybrid events which complement and extend our physical event brands”.
In Mainland China, the return of the group’s physical events continues and Informa said that, almost a year on from when it staged its first physical event post-Covid, was seeing some domestically focused brands return close to pre-Covid levels of revenue and participation.
This was demonstrated most recently within Beauty & Personal Care, with more than 200k exhibitors and attendees at China Beauty Expo in Shanghai.
“In our other major markets in North America and the Middle East, we are gradually seeing more restrictions relaxed and permissions to stage events granted, providing measured confidence in the progressive return of our major brands and the potential for recovery post-Covid,” the group reported. “Similar to Mainland China, participation and revenues are expected to build over time, as confidence recovers and brands progressively return to their traditional industry calendar slots.
“Separately, we continue to invest in the development of Iris, our centralised platform for collating, curating and managing all our customer profiles and behavioural data from our B2B events and digital services. Our objectives here are data accurate customer insights and market knowledge, higher value buyer/seller connections and the development of a further range of B2B digital and data services.”
The group will publish its Half Year results on 29 July 2021, when it expects to have greater clarity on the likely shape of the Transition Year and the potential pace and rate of return through the 2022-2024 period.