Conference giant Emap has admitted a “significant
doubt” over its finances if it fails to renegotiate bank covenants on its
borrowings, estimated at £700 million.
Private equity company Apax, one of the joint
owners (along with Guardian Media Group) wrote down the value of its investment
in March 2009 to zero, having bought Emap in March 2008 with GMG for £1
Accounts for Emap released in September for
the year to March 31 show that Eden Bidco, Emap’s parent company, would risk
breaching covenants if Emap’s profits fall “materially below the level seen in
the first half of 2009”.
Emap earned £42 million in the six months to
September 30, down three per cent from last year
Emap’s year-end has been brought forward to
31 December 2009 from March.
An Emap spokesman said: “Emap is a successful
and highly profitable business, operating fully within its existing banking
Last month Emap began charging for access to
its magazine websites.
Publishing and conference organiser Informa,
meanwhile, issued a trading statement, 15 December, ahead of entering its close
period on 1 January.
The group “confirms that it continues to
trade in line with management expectations for the full year ending 31 December
2009”. Full year results will be released on 2 March
The previous, 17 November, trading statement
had admitted the third quarter had been quiet for the events and training
divisions. “Exhibitions and large conferences that have taken place have
performed well,” the statement said, adding: “The environment for smaller
conferences and training events remains tough.”
The pre-close statement appears to endorse
the view that forward bookings across exhibition and larger conference
businesses are strong, although sponsors and delegates are generally booking
Informa said corporates were continuing to
take longer to commit to training programmes and some contract renewals were
slipping into 2010.