Informa hikes guidance as in-person exhibitions return in force

Informa hikes full-year guidance as demand for in-person events booms after relaxing of Covid restrictions

  • Informa expects to achieve full-year operating profits of £490m to £505m
  • The company’s overall underlying revenue increased by 41% during the period 
  • Shore Capital has upgraded its recommendation on the company’s stock to buy 

Informa has raised its annual outlook after a continued surge in subscriptions and a rebound in live events.

The exhibitions organiser now expects to achieve full-year operating profits of between £490million and £505million, a £15million increase on previous estimates, and turnover of £2.3billion to £2.35billion.

It attributed this new guidance to a ‘strong outperformance’ across the EMEA, North America and ASEAN regions, as well as further expansion across academic and B2B markets.

Upgrade: Exhibitions organiser Informa now expects to achieve full-year operating profits of between £490million and £505million and turnover of £2.3billion to £2.35billion

Underlying revenues in the latter segment climbed by more than two-thirds in the first 10 months of this year as it hosted more than 400 events that attracted 2.5 million people, generating over £1.1billion in sales. 

There was also significant growth in its B2B Digital Services arm, which benefited from record annualised contract values within research firm Omdia.

Revenues improved by more modest levels in its academic division, yet the high volume of subscriptions and increased interest in advanced learning and open research provided a larger bump in trade.

This helped Informa’s overall underlying revenue rise by 41 per cent during the period, meaning full-year sales, when discounting China, are on track to be around 85 per cent of its equivalent figure three years ago.

Since the start of the year, the company’s trade in Mainland China has been severely depressed by the state’s lockdown measures, which are set to remain for the foreseeable future. 

Yet the group’s revenues are flourishing across most countries, especially in the United States, where it recently completed the acquisition of Washington D.C.-based publisher Industry Dive.

Informa expects to benefit from sustained bumper trade in North America and a stronger US dollar, through which it derives nearly two-thirds of its revenues, but also from a gradual recovery in China as Covid restrictions loosen. 

It said: ‘The operating momentum across both our businesses, combined with the strength of our positions in North America, put us in a strong position for continued growth and acceleration in 2023, with incremental growth in China as the market reopens.’

Informa shares climbed by 6.3 per cent to 587.6p on Monday morning, making it by far the top riser on the FTSE 100 Index, although their value has declined by over 31 per cent in the past three years.

The London-based firm also announced that it had acquired more than £450million as part of its £725million share buyback programme, which comes on top of the resumption in ordinary dividends. 

Broker Shore Capital has upgraded its recommendation on the company’s stock from hold to buy, partly as a result of these investor rewards.