Informa reported a pre-tax loss of almost £740m today, as the first six months of the year were heavily impacted by the weight of the coronavirus pandemic.
The world’s largest exhibition group said the pandemic had forced it to expand its cost-cutting programme to target £600m in savings, which will be achieved by laying off staff in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa among other measures.
The events industry has been decimated by the virus, as lockdown and social distancing measures forced exhibitions online and reduced ticket sales significantly.
Revenue for the first six months of 2020 came in at £814.4m, though the group said it hoped to reach sales of £1.7bn by the end of the year.
In the same period last year, Informa reported a profit of £248.3m on revenue of £1.4bn.
Informa, whose shares have fallen around 45 per cent since lockdown began in March, said management expects to report positive monthly cashflows by January next year — even if it is unable to host any physical events other than in mainland China or outdoors.
Group chief executive Stephen Carter said the firm had been saved by resilience in its subscriptions, data and content divisions, even as events ground to a halt.
“The combination of our resilient subscriptions-led businesses and the actions we are taking position Informa securely through to the end of 2021,” he said.
“We remain confident that Informa will emerge from the pandemic with stability and security, delivering long-term sustainable growth and shareholder value.”
Informa had cancelled its dividend and raised £1bn pounds in equity in April, in order to try and buffer the severity of the pandemic’s impact. It said it intended to renegotiate its debt terms with its lenders.
Informa’s share price edged up 0.6 per cent as markets opened this morning.