Informa to review part of conference business on back of revenue drop – although overall earnings grow 11%

International events organiser Informa has launched a review of five of its conference businesses on the back of a 4.1% organic revenue decline. The company said the revenue dip followed restructuring in its conference businesses in Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Russia.

The performance of the Knowledge & Networking division in 2016 was impacted by weakness in regional conference businesses – those outside the UK, US and Dubai specifically, the company said.

The company has published its results statement for the 12 months to 31 December 2016 which show “clear and strong growth”, however, in its global exhibitions and business intelligence, alongside a consistent performance in academic publishing.

There will be a continued focus on Informa’s Branded Events within the key verticals of Finance, Life Sciences and TMT, the company said, while confirming a strategic review of its five remaining domestic conference businesses.

Key financial highlights included the company’s 11% revenue growth to £1,345.7m, adjusted operating profit growth of 13.8% to £426.1m and free cash flow of £307.7m.

Proactive repositioning towards higher growth and margin businesses will see global exhibitions and academic publishing accounting for circa 70% of group profit in 2017, with business intelligence around 20% and knowledge & networking less than 10%.

The company is now in the fourth year of its 2014-2017 growth acceleration plan, which encompasses targeted organic and inorganic expansion in key verticals in the USA and integration with Penton Information Services, which the organiser acquired in 2016.

Stephen A. Carter, group chief executive, said: “2016 was a steady and strong year for the group, where the business grew on all key financial measures, whilst expanding significantly in the US and investing substantially in its products. This sets Informa up well for further progress in 2017.”


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