Informa posts strong 2023 performance, predicts further growth in 2024

The international B2B events, digital services and academic markets group Informa plc has issued a trading update confirming a strong performance in 2023 and confidence of further growth in 2024. Subject to audit, the group said the 2023 growth in underlying revenues could be around 30%. Reported revenue was £3,165m+ and adjusted operating profit £845m, with free cash flow of £600m+

Stephen A. Carter (pictured), group chief executive, said: "Informa delivered a standout performance in 2023 and we are committing to further strong growth in 2024.”

The trading update highlighted growth drivers for 2024, including structural growth in Live & On-Demand B2B Events. Major Live & On-Demand brands were helping to deliver growth across Informa Markets, Informa Connect and Informa Tech, leading to c.40% aggregate underlying revenue growth in 2023 and a target of high single digit growth in 2024.

In terms of international reach, the group also identified strength in its businesses in the US and rapidly expanding economies in the Middle East, China and Asia. It also identified high growth B2B markets in Pharma, Healthcare, Technology, Health & Nutrition, Beauty and Aviation.

Revenue visibility showed £1bn+ in subscriptions and other recurring booked revenues.

The market guidance for 2024 targets high single digit underlying revenue growth.

The strong operating performance is delivering improving shareholder returns, the group trading update added, with £1.06bn of the £1.15bn current Share Buyback Programme completed by year-end and a 2023 dividend confirmed at 18p, +80% year-on-year.

Acceleration in Open Research volumes and other Pay-to-Publish Services, combined with underlying strength in Pay-to-Read Subscriptions underpins Informa’s 2024 underlying revenue growth target of c.4% in this sector, following a c.3% growth performance in 2023.

The group also announced, 10 January, the combination of Informa Tech’s digital businesses with US-based TechTarget to create a leading platform in B2B Digital Services. “We significantly strengthen Informa’s position in the growing B2B Digital Services market, creating a platform to serve B2B customers at scale digitally, as we already do in Live & On-Demand B2B Events,” Carter said. “Over the last three years, Informa has built a proprietary first party data platform, IIRIS, and expanded our position in the B2B Digital Services market. Now, through a majority shareholding in US-listed TechTarget, we are positioning this business firmly where the customers and the value are.”

The group’s financial update statement added: “The strong performance of our businesses over recent years, combined with the benefit of inorganic investments, including today’s proposed combination with TechTarget, strengthens Informa’s operating model.”