Informa raises profit and expects good 2011

Publishing and conference group Informa has delivered a 1.5 per cent rise in earnings for 2010 and gave an upbeat outlook for 2011 as the global economy improves.

The company, which publishes shipping newspaper Lloyd’s List, posted adjusted pre-tax profit of £276.4m, up six per cent on the previous year.

Earnings per share grew 1.5 per cent to 34.8p for the year, while revenues were broadly flat at £1.23bn.

"The year has started well, in line with our expectations, with encouraging performances from some of our biggest events as well as a successful academic journal renewal," chief executive Peter Rigby said.

"I am excited about the next 12 months and expect Informa to deliver a year of progress."

Shares in the group, which have risen ten per cent since the start of the year in the run up to the results, fell 4.4 per cent lower at 429.7p on the news.

Analysts said the results were as expected, with a better-than-expected £93.5m profit in the events and training division, and a slightly lower than expected £110m profit in the PCI division.

Roddy Davidson at Altium Securities said the results showed a “gentle increase in operating profitability” and strong cash generation.

“We are pleased with this morning’s results, which provide a solid foundation for our financial forecasts and may allow small upgrades. With trading performance improving we see good scope for robust medium-term growth,” he said.

Rigby said the group's resilient performance was supported by subscription revenue in academic journals and professional information, which accounted for 36 per cent of total group revenue, and journal renewals at the start of the year met expectations.

"With academic budgets under some pressure worldwide we are not in a scenario where we have got big price rises or are expecting large volume increases, but we expect to see some small top-line growth in the academic journal business in 2011," he said on a conference call with reporters.

"That was are expectation and the renewals have cemented that."