Informa Swung to 1H Pretax Profit; Resumes Dividends — Update

By Kyle Morris

Informa PLC said Thursday that it swung to a pretax profit for the first half of 2022 as the company benefited from its investment program, and that it has resumed dividend payments.

The FTSE 100 events and academic-publishing group reported a pretax profit of 51.4 million pounds ($62.4 million), compared with a pretax loss of GBP91 million a year earlier, thanks to the return of Live and On-Demand events, the reduction in average net debt and higher free cash flow.

Adjusted operating profit was GBP213.3 million, compared with GBP69.2 million a year earlier, due to revenue growth and effective cost management.

Revenue was GBP1.02 billion, compared with GBP688.9 million, it said, reflecting strength in Academic Markets, growth in B2B Digital Services and the continuing return of Live and On-Demand B2B events.

The company reaffirmed its full-year expectations at the top end of guidance, with growth in revenue, adjusted operating profit and earnings per share seen above historical trends.

Dividend payments were resumed at three pence a share, it said.

Informa also said that it has divested its Maritime Intelligence business for GBP385 million, completing its GAP II portfolio focus program. By divesting noncore assets, such as Maritime Intelligence, it has generated GBP2.5 billion in value, providing flexibility for shareholder returns, additional growth investment and further targeted expansion, it said.

“We want to invest in expanding our service offering both in terms of capability and in terms of acquisitions to enhance our Digital Services in both of our two main markets,” Chief Executive Stephen A. Carter said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires. “You’ll see us do more acquisitions in targeted areas,” he added.

Short term, the biggest challenge is probably the reopening of China, Mr. Carter said, adding that the company has effectively derisked its 2022 numbers through rescheduling and reforecasting performance rates. He added that the company would rather post a beat on this.

The company decided to carry its 2019 prices into 2022 as a result of the pandemic, but next year it will realign pricing to costs, Mr. Carter said. Outside of this, the most significant effect the company is seeing from the inflationary environment is on talent, he said. “Cost inflation probably hits us most on talent. 60%-70% of our costs are people,” he said.

“I feel bullish about 2023 and 2024, and that combination of organic investment, underlying growth and acquisition could be a very powerful combination,” Mr. Carter said.

Shares at 1031 GMT were down 21.20 pence, or 3.5%, at 579.80 pence.

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