Insurance helps Hyve financials as it accelerates ominichannel strategy and consolidates around bigger shows

Global events business Hyve Group has reported, 18 May, HY21 results which, the company says, show “a robust financial position” enabling it to emerge strongly from the pandemic and meet pent-up demand for events, while accelerating its omnichannel strategy.

Cost management and secured confirmation of £49m of insurance proceeds in H1 helped the balance sheet.

Hyve reported it ran 12 in-person events and over 80 virtual events in H1 despite the ongoing disruption caused by Covid-19.

The period saw the company acquire Retail Meetup in December and it successfully ran Groceryshop Spring Meetup in March.

The strategy has seen the company focus on its market-leading events while it exited Central Asia and disposed of Hyve’s Kazakhstan portfolio - 25 non-core, regionally focused events.

Mark Shashoua, CEO of Hyve Group plc, commented: “Hyve is focused on emerging from the pandemic a stronger business, with a robust financial platform and strategy in place to meet pent-up event demand, while accelerating our omnichannel offering. Since the outbreak of Covid-19 we have secured insurance proceeds totalling £84.9m (US4120.5m), achieved cost savings above our projections and ensured we have sufficient liquidity to make the most of the opportunity in front of us as markets begin to reopen.

“Having run events in Russia, Ukraine, China, Turkey and India in H1, we are optimistic that events in Western economies will run in the second half, in line with our modelled scenarios. Continued customer rollover for Western events provides confidence in the pent-up demand for market leading in-person events, which Hyve is well positioned to serve.  

“Covid-19 has provided Hyve an opportunity to reset, renew and evolve. We are enhancing our already market leading in-person events by significantly building out our capability to deliver bespoke facilitated meetings programmes at a number of our events in FY22. Our quality-focused portfolio is optimally positioned to deliver an even greater return on time and money for our customers than before the pandemic. 

“We continue to evolve our omnichannel strategy, enabling us to strengthen our existing brands, monetise online events and offer customers multiple opportunities to learn, network and trade throughout the year. Our recent acquisition of Retail Meetup is tracking ahead of expectations, demonstrating a successful monetisable model for future virtual Meetup events. With the speed of vaccine rollouts providing optimism and the strong liquidity headroom we have created, we enter the second half with the right talent, portfolio and omnichannel strategy to meet pent-up demand now and into FY22.”

In terms of financial headlines, the first six months to 31 March 2021 saw a headline profit before tax of £10.4m, compared to £90.6m for the six months to 31 March 2020, and volume sales of 39,400sqm for the period to 31 March 2021 versus 288,900sqm for the comparable six month period to 31 March 2020.

Profit before tax was £18.7m for this HY1 compared to a loss of £168.7m for the six months to 31 March 2020. The 2021 figure included £49m of insurance proceeds in respect of cancelled events.

Adjusted net debt had been brought down to £92.4m on 31 March 2021. The figure stood at £157.2m on 31 March 2020.

The Hyve portfolio has slimmed down to 75 market-leading, bigger events (100 pre-pandemic).

The outlook for net debt at the year end remains in the range of £100-£120m, the company reports and notes that, with restrictions remaining on international travel and lockdowns still ongoing in certain markets, disruption to the event schedule is continuing.

The Group says it is encouraged by the pace of vaccine rollouts in countries such as the UK and United States and, while the near-term outlook remains fluid, Hyve is cautiously optimistic.

The company expects a gradual return of customer participation as international travel resumes and restrictions are lifted.