Hyve’s revenues halve but cost controls and insurance help bottom line

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Hyve’s revenues halve but cost controls and insurance help bottom line

International events business Hyve has reported FY20 results, including revenues of £105.m and savings of £63m. The figures compared with revenues of £220.7m in the previous. Year to September 2019. Hyve posted a headline loss before tax of £18.7m (2019: profit of £50.4m) after the receipt of £22.0m of insurance proceeds in respect of cancelled events.

Q1 like-for-like growth of 7% was the highlight of the financial report, as well as the £126.6m rights issue in May. The company also reports a further £13.1m has been received since year end.

Hyve said the FY results provided “a strong financial platform to navigate Covid-19 following decisive management action to reduce costs, conserve cash and boost liquidity”.

Covid-19 meant Hyve managed to hold 45 events in H1 and 12 events in H2, principally in China, Russia and the Ukraine.

The cost savings of £63m in FY20 represented c.30% of the FY19 cost base and Hyve reported better than anticipated year end net debt of £68m.

Hyve also highlighted its developing omnichannel strategy which it said was designed to offer customers improved ROI at in-person events and the ability to learn, trade and network online with hosted meetings rollout in 2022.

Mark Shashoua (pictured), CEO of Hyve Group plc, commented: “We entered 2020 in a very strong position, with a clear strategy following three years of transformative investment and having completed the acquisition of two market-leading e-commerce events in the US, Shoptalk and Groceryshop. As a result, our shows in Q1 continued to deliver strong results. Since Covid-19 struck in March we have taken every measure within our control to protect our employees, customers and future-proof the business as markets reopen. Having delivered cost savings above our projections, received substantial insurance payments, raised £126.6m through a rights issue and taken every possible step to conserve cash, we end this year with a strong financial platform to weather Covid-19. 

“While our financial results today reflect the impact of this unprecedented pandemic, we have stayed close to our customers and offered online content, which has been well received. Our customers want the safe return of our events which will act as a key trading platform to get industries back to business. Whilst demand for in-person is clear, we believe that Covid-19 has accelerated a change in customer behaviour, and we are positioning Hyve to be at the forefront of this evolution. As such, we are focussed on accelerating our omnichannel strategy to enhance return on investment and return on time for customers.”

Shashoua added that work was underway to develop the rollout of hosted meetings capability acquired from Shoptalk across some of Hyve’s in-person market-leading events in order to go live in 2022. “In addition,” he said, “we have taken time to test several different virtual propositions to provide opportunities for our customers to learn, network and trade in a virtual format.

“I would like to thank each and every one of our employees for their commitment during this challenging year. I am struck by what has remained constant throughout: our belief in the power and significance of our events and our determination to get back to doing what we do best.”

Shashoua added that whil news of Covid-19 vaccines was encouraging, he expected disruption to “That said, as in-person events continue to return, Hyve’s market-leading events are optimally placed to service the pent-up demand for learning, networking and trading whilst stimulating the global economy,” he said.

Hyve said it had modelled two trading scenarios for FY21:

  • The first, a ‘Recovery’ scenario, assumes that events in China, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey are able to go ahead. However, they will be smaller than in previous years with a largely domestic customer base.This scenario assumes that events in western markets will take place during the second half.
  • The second, an ‘East-West’ scenario, assumes that no western events take place throughout the year.

Beyond FY21, Hyve said it was hopeful of returning to a normalised schedule of events in FY22, albeit with events still recovering in terms of revenue and customer numbers.

Hyve added that it had trialled over 100 online events across its portfolio, including a proof of concept trading and networking event, Shoptalk Meetup, working with a third-party operator. This took place in October 2020 with 2,000 participants and 18,000 meetings and the company is now assessing the long-term viability of such a solution.

While shares in the company more than doubled on the early-November vaccine news they subsequently lost ground again, returning to 70% below where they started the year.

Investment and consultancy firm Edison Group’s director of media, Fiona Orford-Williams, commented on the Hyve results: “The numbers for the year ended September had been well flagged at the pre-close update, although at a pre-tax level, the outturn was better than market consensus at (£18.7m), after receipt of £22m of insurance payout. Adjusted net debt also benefited from that insurance inflow. It really is now all about managing through FY21 and preparing for recovery in FY22.”

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail

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