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Informa ‘on track’ to be cash-positive in 2021 even if no physical events


Informa PLC (LON:INF) said it has completed its refinancing plan and, with ongoing cost saving measures also in place, expects to be cash-positive from January 2021, even if it can hold no physical indoor events or exhibitions outside China due to coronavirus.

The FTSE 100-listed group, which crashed to a £740mln loss in the first half of the year after being forced to cancel or postpone more than 160 events because of the pandemic, said its cost management programme is on track to deliver £600mln of run-rate savings by the end of 2020.

Having raised £1bn from an equity issue in May and £790mln from bonds in September and October, earlier this month it cancelled a short-term surplus credit facility and £1.1bn of US private placement loan notes, which removed all financial covenants from its balance sheet, which also boasts more than £1bn of available liquidity.

“We have now concluded the restructuring, refinancing and rescheduling of our debt,” said chief executive Stephen Carter.

He said the group has built stability through 2021 and beyond, as it has seen “continuing strength” in digital subscriptions, with growth across virtual events and media brands, and enjoyed “progressive re-opening” of physical events in mainland China and other parts of Asia.

The shares fell 4% to 550p in early trade on Wednesday, having climbed 24% since Monday’s vaccine news.

Broker Peel Hunt downgraded its rating to ‘add’ from ‘buy’, noting that the company was “silent on trading” other than noting its cost savings. 

“The shares have rallied well since the interims, and the news on a potential Covid vaccine,” the analysts said, downgrading pending further news on the vaccine role out and core trading for Informa.

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