Informa delivers strong 2022 trading update, with live events revenues growing 70%

International event organiser and FTSE 100 group Informa, which saw its share price rise 20% last year, has announced a strong 2022 trading update ahead of its 2022 full year results. The company said its figures were tracking well ahead of guidance and confirmed strong operating momentum was continuing into 2023. Full year results are due on 9 March 2023.

The 2022 performance had shown strong growth across both its B2B Markets and Academic Markets businesses, with anticipated full-year revenue growth of c.70% in Live Events in 2022, including particular strength in the US, the trading statement said.

The group now expects to report revenues of more than £2.38bn (US$2.94bn), adjusted operating profit of £530m+ and free cash flow of £440m+.

Informa is entering 2023 with a strengthened balance sheet after realising c£2.5bn of value from the sale of its Intelligence division last year.

Stephen A. Carter, group chief executive, said: “Informa finished 2022 strongly and has entered 2023 with continuing momentum.”
He added: “Strong performances in both Academic Markets and B2B Markets, combined with our strengthened balance sheet, mean Informa will deliver further strong underlying growth, continuing organic investment and additional targeted expansion, alongside enhanced shareholder returns.”

The company promised “strong commitment and investment in sustainable business practices” through its FasterForward programme.

The company also pointed to its strength in specialisation. “We continue to monitor the macro and geopolitical backdrop and, whilst uncertainties prevail, Informa operates with specialist brands serving specialist markets, providing resilience and growth opportunities in the vast majority of our chosen categories,” Carter noted.

The chief executive also highlighted a “more focused portfolio, built around two businesses with world leading brands, good forward visibility and growing digital and data capabilities”.

Carter said the company would see incremental growth from China once full return is complete, “likely towards the back end of 2023 and into 2024”.

“A successful China reopening will be combined with our proven ability to successfully buy, integrate and operate portfolio businesses around the world (100+ completed over the last decade), where our focus will be on consolidating strengths in Live and On-Demand Events, building a position in adjacent B2B Digital Services and expanding our range of author and Open Research services,” he added.

There would also be additional 2023 investment in recent acquisitions, Carter said, including a product launch in the Lead Generation/Digital Demand market (Intentive) at NetLine and the accelerated rollout of new subject dives at Industry Dive, starting with Direct-to-Consumer Dive.

There would also be ongoing capital returns through a £725m share buyback programme, Carter said, with just over £500m of buybacks completed in 2022; additional shareholder returns through further growth in ordinary dividends, with an ongoing commitment to pay out a minimum of 40% of the Group’s continuing adjusted earnings.

Photo: Informa's Licensing Expo in Las Vegas 2022