Informa half-year 2020 results: £1bn+ cost of Covid-19 revealed as it books £801m pre-tax loss

B2B information and exhibitions company Informa has cancelled more than £1bn of budgeted events revenue this year due to the impact of Covid-19.

The result is revenue for the first half of 2020 down 42% to £814.4m and a statutory pre-tax loss of £801.2m compared with a profit of £232.8m in the same period a year earlier.

The company reported an adjusted operating profit of £118.6m compared with an operating profit of £435.7m in the same period a year earlier.

The company won’t restart most physical events until mid to late Spring 2021.

Full-year revenue for 2020 is expected to be £1.7bn compared with £2.9bn in 2019.

The half-year results included a non-cash impairment of £592.9m which assumes a gradual recovery in the events sector in the next few years and a return to 2019 levels of cash flow in 2025.

The group plans to run 500 virtual events this year and said of these: “Revenues are typically below the physical product but this has potential for improvement as platforms become more sophisticated, the range of services we offer broadens and we are able to plan and market the virtual events more effectively.”

The UK-based publisher of brands such as Lloyd’s List and Insuranceday made savings of £300m in the first half of the year through measures which included:

  • Postponing recruitment
  • Cancelling pay rises
  • Postponing non-essential projects and capital expenditure
  • Renegotiation of major contract and suppliers
  • Consolidation of office space
  • Offering staff six-months unpaid leave.

The company plans to save £600m by the end of the year through measures which will include voluntary and compulsory redundancies.

Chief executive Stephen Carter said: “Despite the first-half disruption to physical events businesses caused by the pandemic, we are seeing strong demand and resilience in our specialist subscriptions, data and content, reflecting the power of our brands and depth of geographic reach and customer relationships.

“Encouragingly, we have also seen our physical events business recover in mainland China, whilst our increasing participation in virtual events
is maintaining our brands, developing our digital services and enhancing our data capabilities.”

He added: “The combination of our resilient subscriptions-led businesses and the actions we are taking position Informa securely through to the end of 2021. We remain confident that Informa will emerge from the pandemic with Stability and Security, delivering long-term sustainable growth and shareholder value.”

Informa is listed on the London Stock Exchange and shares traded for £3.73 at time of writing, compared with £8.67 at the start of the year. This gave the company a market capitalisation of £5.6bn, down £7.5bn since the start of the year.

Read Informa’s half 2020 H1 financial results in full.

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