Lack of exhibitions takes a toll on DMGT group Q1 revenues

Global media group and events organiser, Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) has reported first quarter revenues down 15% year-on-year, although the Group says the figures are in line with management expectations. The Group said that although the trading environment remained uncertain, there was continued confidence in the long-term.

The Group’s Events & Exhibitions business (dmg events) was particularly impacted, with a 92% drop in underlying revenues, due to the effects of Covid-19.

That Events & Exhibitions result was partially offset by underlying digital advertising growth at DMGT of +8%. Further, UK Property Information performance was strong, up +22%, while the Group’s  B2B business saw subscription growth.

For Q1, Group revenues totalled £304m, down an underlying 15% year-on-year and when Events & Exhibitions were excluded that fell to an underlying 5% drop.

The Group said it had maintained a strong financial position with pro forma net cash £55m at 31 December 2020.

It should be remembered that two of the business’s largest events are usually held in November but, as announced following the onset of Covid-19, Big 5 Dubai was postponed to September 2021 and the ADIPEC exhibition, the Group’s largest event, was cancelled. A virtual version of ADIPEC was held and two small physical events occurred in the quarter in Singapore and China.

The Group reported sales bookings for larger events remained encouraging and, other than for a few smaller shows, no changes had been made to the 2021 events schedule in recent months. The vaccination programmes in Dubai and Singapore, where Gastech is scheduled to be held in September 2021, are progressing, although the Group acknowledged that exhibitors’ and delegates’ ability and willingness to travel internationally remained uncertain.

Group outlook

The duration and severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, the DMGT statement said, was unclear despite the hope that vaccination programmes should enable lockdowns around the world to be eased over time. Consequently, the short-term outlook for the Events & Exhibitions business remained difficult to predict.

“The Board is confident that DMGT’s diversified portfolio is well positioned to continue to withstand the present uncertainties and that its long-term approach will continue to create value for its shareholders,” the statement concluded.