Events, training and publishing company Informa has reported a 2.4 per cent dip in half-year revenues to the six months to 30 June 2012, triggered by tough trading conditions across Europe.
According to its half-yearly statement, total year-on-year revenues were £619.6m, down from £634.8m in 2011. The company blamed ongoing volatility and uncertainty across European markets, with negative growth in real terms and its knock-on effect on the rest of the world.
Despite this, Informa’s EBITDA was up slightly to £172.7m in the first half, with an adjusted operating margin of 25.8 per cent, up from 25.1 per cent in thefirst half of 2011.
Across its events and training portfolio, nine large new events ran during the first half, lifting revenues to £292.3m, or 47 per cent of overall sales. Adjusted operating profit declined from £59.5m to £54.9m. Of this division, 40 per cent is made up of exhibitions and large-scale conferences, which remained resilient, cash generative and positive, Informa said.
These also offered strong opportunities for organic growth through geocloning. Key brands for growth include Cityscape, Beauty, Vitafoods, Anti-Ageing, Aesthetics and events for the telecoms market.
The company also confirmed forward bookings on leading events remain strong and said 20 per cent of revenue was coming from emerging markets.
In a bid to beat the economic climate in Europe, Informa revealed its acquisition of exhibition and conference business Merchandise Mart Properties Canada (MMPC) on 3 July. The organiser delivered revenues of CAD$25m (£15.8m) in 2011 and specialises in construction, real estate, interior design and furnishing sectors.
Informa has also restructured its European conference and training division and disposed of its Austrian, Czech Republic and Hungarian businesses. This saw the smaller conferences portfolio downsized by 550 conferences across the full-year, generating a loss on disposal of £24.4m and a non-cash impairment charge of £80m.
“We are confident about the opportunities that exist to grow the business within Informa by launching new shows or geocloning existing ones into a market which has been less affected by the world’s economic issues,” Informa stated in its report. It also pointed to a resilient and balanced portfolio of assets spread across formats, sectors and geographies as key in the fight against tougher trading conditions.
“Overall, we have made a solid start to the year and are pleased with our performance to date,” Informa chief executive Peter Rigby said. “With our flat structure, experienced local management and focus on operating profit, we continue to deliver good financial performance and earnings growth.
“Global economic conditions show no signs of sustained improvement. We have become used to operating in this environment and are actively managing the portfolio to concentrate on our areas of strategic focus. The business is in better shape as a result and we are well positioned for growth when an economic recovery occurs.”
Rigby added Informa was encouraged by product launchesplanned for the second half of the year as well as the Canadian acquisition and said the board was confident of meeting expectations for the full year.
Earlier this month, Informa acquired CloserStill Media’s mediaPro event in the UK for an undisclosed sum.
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