Informa issues statement as £425m of events scrapped or postponed

A postponement programme was swiftly deployed to deal with the impact of coronavirus on the events sector.

Informa's chief executive has moved quickly to push the company’s events portfolio later into the year.

In a statement, Informa PLC group chief executive Stephen Carter said:

“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.

“Our brands and strong platforms continue to provide attractive opportunities for further market specialisation and future growth.”

“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.”

Carter added that 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.

Shares in the company have plummeted by almost a quarter in the last three weeks following warnings about the hit to revenue.

It comes as industry bodies, venues and suppliers called for assistance from the Chancellor in the Budget announcement.

The group may have to cancel or postpone more than 100 events worth an estimated £450m over spring and summer - in the face of travel disruption around the world caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Deutsche Bank on Friday warned about a potential “domino effect” as an increasing number of events are affected, the FT reported.

Informa organises more than 800 events covering everything from pharma and biotech, finance, shipping and security.

The group had a turnover of £2.9bn for 2019, up 22%, with adjusted profit before tax of £821m for the year, up by 26% on 2018.

Informa is in the process of re-scheduling 45 large event brands to a date later this year, worth £350m in revenue.

A further 70 smaller events worth about £50m in revenue have also been re-scheduled, while 13 brands' events, worth £25m in revenue, have either been cancelled or moved to next year.

The group publishes academic journals like the 282-year-old shipping industry’s Lloyd’s List.

But after the 2018 purchase of rival UBM in a £4bn deal, around two-thirds of its revenue and profit comes from events.

Worried about how coronavirus might affect you and the events you’re involved in? Join the C&IT Breakfast Briefing on 22 April. 

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