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Informa says North America recovery is key as losses top £1bn

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Informa PLC (LON:INF) slumped into a loss of more than £1bn in 2020 as it took wholesale write-downs on events cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Revenues dropped by 43% to £1.66bn, though the exhibition and trade show specialist said there was an improvement in mainland China in the second half and into 2021 while North American events will start to resume later this year.

North America is Informa’s key market and “The extent of any further revenue growth will be dependent on the pace and scale of return of physical events outside of Mainland China,” it said.

Informa added however that its current forecasts still did not envisage cash flow returning to pre-Covid-19 levels until 2025, hence it has taken impairments of £593mln against events in three areas – Markets, Connect and Tech.

Higher interest charges, Covid-19 costs and other write-downs meant a loss of £1.14bn in the year to end December with underlying profits reduced to £170mln from £821mln.

Net debt at the year-end fell to £1.76bn after positive cash flow and a £1bn fundraise at the start of the pandemic as its likely impact became clear.

“We view 2021 as the transition year,” added the group,” with continued growth in both our Subscriptions-led businesses and further expansion in B2B digital services, supported by a progressive return in B2B physical events.”

Informa added that its minimum target this year remains to keep revenues at around £1.7bn and be cashflow positive throughout.

 

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