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Informa records pre-tax H1 loss of £739.9m and plans for £600m of savings by year-end

Informa has announced pre-tax loss of £739.9m (US$946.9m) in its financial results for the six-months ended 30 June 2020. The group updated on its ongoing actions to ensure stability and security through 2021, amid continuing Covid-19 disruption and an extension of event postponements into spring 2021.

The results for H1 show an adjusted operating profit of £118.6m (H1 2019: £435.7m) on revenues of £814.4m (H1 2019: £1,407.6m), amid significant pandemic-impact on the physical events business; Covid-19 non-cash impairments and exceptional costs impacted the overall loss.

The group did report continued strong demand for its specialist data and intelligence helping offset the disruption to its physical events, with solid performance in its subscriptions businesses and specialist B2B brands.

Other crumbs of comfort included the events business in Mainland China coming back to operating capability, with 20 further B2B events scheduled before year-end.

The group announced the next stage of its ongoing Covid-19 Action Plan to stabilise the business and secure baseline full-year revenues of c.£1.7bn. This includes extending The Postponement Programme to mid/late Spring 2021 and expanding the Cost Management Programme to deliver more than £600m+ of savings by year-end. This is in addition to the £300m of cost savings made in H1. There will be targeted compulsory redundancies, largely in North America and EMEA.

Informa said a combination of lower costs, more efficient financing and effective cash management would secure a positive monthly cashflow position by January 2021, even assuming no there was no physical events activity other than shows within Mainland China and outdoor events.

The group put its current liquidity at £2.8bn, with intention to renegotiate or repay US private placement notes, combined with a planned issue of around £500m equivalent Euro Bonds, extending drawn debt maturity through to 2023.

Group chief executive Stephen A. Carter (pictured) said: “Despite the first-half disruption to physical events businesses caused by the pandemic, we are seeing strong demand and resilience in our specialist Subscriptions, Data and Content, reflecting the power of our brands and depth of geographic reach and customer relationships. Encouragingly, we have also seen our physical Events business recover in Mainland China, whilst our increasing participation in virtual events is maintaining our brands, developing our digital services and enhancing our data capabilities.”

“We have extended our Covid-19 Action Plan to deliver further business stability and security through to the end of 2021.”

He added:“We remain confident that Informa will emerge from the pandemic with stability and security, delivering long-term sustainable growth and shareholder value.”

The Informa chairman’s succession process, which was paused in March, has resumed with the aim of concluding by year-end, with a detailed update at the group’s Nine-Month Trading Statement due in early November.