Informa bounces back to profit after loosening coronavirus restrictions revive FTSE 100 publisher’s live events
- Informa’s cash flow climbed by more than £500m to a £438.7m inflow in 2021
- Russia and Belarus are responsible for less than 0.1% of Informa’s overall sales
- The firm is embarking on the second stage of a share buyback scheme today
Informa swung back to profit last year as the relaxation of Covid-related lockdown restrictions led to a gradual return of in-person events.
After posting a statutory pre-tax loss of £1.14billion in 2020, the world’s largest exhibitions firm rebounded to a £137.1million profit the following year.
As well as the resumption of live functions, Informa’s earnings were buoyed by the sale of three businesses within its Informa Intelligence portfolio and the absence of a goodwill impairment, which cost them nearly £600million the previous year.
Recovery: After posting a statutory pre-tax loss of £1.14billion in 2020, the London-headquartered multinational rebounded to a £137.1million profit the following year
Higher operating profits, cash conversion and forward bookings for business-to-business events also helped its cash flow climb by more than £500million to a £438.7million inflow in 2021, and cut net debt by over a quarter.
The FTSE 100 company further credited improved demand for B2B digital services and the strength of subscriptions for revenues jumping by 8.3 per cent to £1.8billion.
It expects annual revenues to rise by another £350million to £450million in 2022. and for operating profits to surge to £470million to £490million.
Informa says trade is not currently affected by the invasion of Ukraine, due to its lack of commercial activity in either Russia or Belarus, which are responsible for less than 0.1 per cent of total sales.
‘Since the outbreak of the conflict, we have been closely adhering to the sanctions regime, ceasing any activities with sanctioned companies or individuals,’ the firm remarked.
‘Whilst currently we have seen no impact on trading, we will continue to monitor the situation to assess any indirect impact on supply chains, credit markets, international travel and general levels of business activity and confidence.’
Starting today, the Taylor & Francis owner is embarking on the second stage of a share buyback programme worth £200million, having already bought over £100million since last month.
It hopes to return up to £1billion in total to investors through either purchasing shares or paying a special dividend, depending on the progress regarding the divestment of Informa Intelligence.
In February, a deal was agreed to sell an 85 per cent stake in the firm’s pharma intelligence business, which offers data on drug treatments, medical devices and clinical trials, for around £1.7billion to the American investment fund Warburg Pincus.
Alongside this, Informa is in the process of divesting its financial intelligence businesses, such as wealth management analytics group Zephyr and fund flow data subsidiary EPFR Global, and its maritime intelligence division.
Informa shares were up 1.3 per cent to 557.6p during the late morning on Tuesday, making it one of the top ten risers on the blue-chip FTSE 100 Index, though their value has fallen by around 10 per cent in the last month.