International exhibitions, events and information services group, Informa, has reported revenue growth for 2019 and deployment of a Postponement Programme designed to mitigate the effects of coronavirus.
The group results for the 12 months to 31 December 2019, report continuing benefits of market specialisation, with 2019 financial highlights including:
• Reported revenue growth of 22.0% and 3.5% underlying, reflecting full year of UBM
• Improved adjusted operating profit growth of 27.5% and 6.5% underlying
• Higher statutory operating profit: 48.2% growth to £538.1m (2018: £363.2m)
• Strong free cash flow of £722.1m (US$940.7), versus £503.2m in 2018
• Strengthened balance sheet: Reduction in leverage ratio to 2.5x, in line with plan (2018: 2.9x)
• Enhanced dividend per share: 23.5p (2018: 21.9p).
Stephen A. Carter, Group Chief Executive, Informa plc, said: “In 2019, the Informa Group delivered a sixth consecutive year of growth in revenues, adjusted operating profits, adjusted earnings per share, free cash flow and dividends.
“Over the past six years, we have been refocusing The Informa Group on specialist markets.”
Carter added that Informa’s subscriptions-related businesses, which accounted for around 35% of revenue, continued to grow.
“However, we are facing a 2020 impact from Covid-19 in our Events-related businesses and so we have used our strong customer and supplier relationships to swiftly deploy a material Postponement Programme, shifting our events calendar to later dates in 2020.”
The Group Chief Executive added: “As an international business, with colleagues and customers around the world, since January we have been closely following relevant national authority guidelines and advice, and putting in place support, communications and in-market response. Our thoughts are with those directly affected and our priorities, are with colleagues, and serving and supporting our customers for the long-term.”
Informa said also that, as of 10 March 2020, across the Group, it had agreed or was in the process of agreeing the re-scheduling of around 45 large event brands to a date later in 2020, representing budgeted revenue of around £350m.
Around 70 smaller brands have also been re-scheduled with revenue of around £50m, the company added. “In addition, we have localised or virtualised several brands to deliver the best solution for customers in those markets this year. We have also re-phased (biennials)/cancelled 13 brands in 2020, with budgeted revenue of £25m,” the statement said.
For those brands it has re-scheduled, localised or virtualised in 2020, the Group said we would expect to incur some incremental investment in venue capacity, customer marketing and other duplicative costs of re-Scheduling and virtualisation, “subject to in-market support budgets and insurance outcomes”.
The Group added that, “at this point we are not providing market guidance for the Informa Group in 2020”.
With Informa’s Acceleration Integration Plan now complete, the Group said there had been a natural evolution in the mix of its Board of Directors during 2019, as several Non-Executive Directors completed terms. “This led to the appointment of Gill Whitehead as Non-Executive Director in August, bringing significant digital, data and analytics experience to the Group from her time at Google and elsewhere,” the Group statement noted.
“In January, we also announced that, having completed a full term at the Group, and with the integration of UBM complete, we had started a process to identify a successor for our Chairman, Derek Mapp. A new Chair is expected to be in place by the end of 2020, following an appropriate handover period,” the statement added.