International events and publishing company Informa Group has blamed the early Easter break for a 5.8 per cent drop across its events and training division. Full-year forecasts for pre-tax profits in the £330m-plus area should be met, however, according to City analysts.
In an interim management statement for the three months ended 31 March 2013, the company said that a number of events had to be re-scheduled into the second quarter to avoid the holiday season. These included the Anti-Aging Medicine World Congress in Monaco, Partnerships in Clinical Trials in the US and a number of events in its UK finance business.
“These timing differences dragged events organic growth into negative territory across Q1 but we are forecasting strong growth in Q2 as these movements unwind,” a company statement said.
Informa’s large events continued to perform strongly, with Q1 like-for-like growth in high single digits and strong re-bookings for 2014, with the Middle East highlighted as a growth area.
“Trading in the new financial year has been broadly as expected and while the economic backdrop continues to provide little support, we remain on track to meet our full year targets,” said CEO Peter Rigby. “Our academic and large event businesses have performed particularly well in the early months and while trading has been mixed in some other areas, we expect trends to continue to improve through the year.”
Informa is hovering just outside the FTSE 100 and there is every indication that the quarter represents a trough in its fortunes. Some European conferences were cut back last year and there is a natural second half bias for Informa. One major event, the Monaco Boat Show, falls in September, with many of Informa’s corporate training programmes starting in the second half.
Overall, the group revealed a decline in revenue of 3.6 per cent in the first quarter, though full-year targets remain unchanged, with growth weighted to the second half of the year.
Informa said its IMXH 2013 show broke all records, when it was held at The NEC in March.
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