Informa Plc (LON: INF), the International Exhibitions, Events, Information Services and Scholarly Publishing Group, today issued a trading update to coincide with its Annual General Meeting in London.
The Group continues to trade to plan and despite ongoing macroeconomic uncertainty and geopolitical risk, the Board remains confident of meeting full-year expectations.
Stephen A. Carter, Group Chief Executive, Informa PLC, said:
“Informa has performed well through the first four months of the year, with steady trading across our enlarged portfolio of specialist international brands. This leaves us well placed to meet our targets for 2019 and deliver a further year of growth in revenue, adjusted profit, earnings, cashflow and dividends.”
As we approach the completion of our one-year Accelerated Integration Plan, the performance of our largest business remains strong, reflecting the quality of our brands and depth in attractive specialist markets. 11 of our Top 30 events have successfully run and, combined with forward bookings, this provides high levels of visibility over this year’s budgeted revenue. This gives us confidence of continued performance in 2019, with a target of 4.5%+ underlying revenue growth.
Our increased international reach creates balance and breadth across the portfolio, allowing us to manage volatility in individual markets or regions. In the early months of the year, trading in North America and China has remained strong. This has been balanced by some ongoing softness in the Middle East, where overall activity levels are lower, particularly in Real Estate and Construction, which is also affected by the build-up and increasing in-market commitment to Expo 2020.
Our streamlined portfolio of specialist branded confexes and events continues to trade well, with good performances year-to-date and pacing trends for the higher volume second half of the year on track, leaving us well placed to deliver our 2.5%+ underlying growth target in 2019.
Following a programme of disciplined portfolio rationalisation, Informa Connect is now focused on two core, growing verticals, Life Sciences and Global Finance. We have real depth within these specialist markets through a range of content-led events and specialist digital content brands, providing increasingly predictable earnings through a broad range of revenue streams.
In 2019, the task for Informa Tech is to establish itself as a unified brand in the market, developing its broader proposition to customers through its portfolio of specialist events, research, learning and digital content brands. Trading across these businesses has been encouraging through the early months of 2019 and forward bookings and pacing into the higher volume second half are also on track, giving us confidence in delivering our target of 2%+ underlying revenue growth across the year.
Our strategy to build depth and strong market positions in the international Technology market was further supported by the recent addition of the TMT portfolio from IHS Markit. This agreement will extend and enhance the international reach of Informa Tech through its strong presence in Asia and North America, as well as further improve our position in key sub-sectors, notably Information Technology, Communications Technology, Security Technology and Emerging Transformational Technology. We expect the transaction to complete within two months and will provide a further update at our Half-Year Results on 24 July 2019.
Our specialist information and intelligence business continues to deliver steady improvement in operating performance and growth. The early months of the year are key for subscriptions and our performance has been encouraging, with both continued strong renewal rates and improving new business momentum, leading to positive trends in annualised contract values. We remain focused on delivering further steady improvement in underlying growth through 2019, with a target of c.3% for the year.
We continue to increase our focus on core specialist markets where we have strong brands and market positions, with particular emphasis on Pharma and Retail Banking. Following the announced exchange of our Agribusiness Portfolio for IHS Markit’s TMT portfolio, our Progressive Portfolio Management programme continues at pace and we expect to complete this initiative by the half year stage.
Taylor & Francis
The performance of our scholarly publishing business remains steady and consistent, and we are focused on delivering another year of 2%+ underlying revenue growth. Our Books business publishes specialist, reference-led academic content and combined with a continuous focus on operational efficiency, this continues to serve us well.
In Journals, our approach to subscription products continues to attract customer renewals and support, whilst our approach to Open Access, which is bolstered by our investment in capacity and specialist capability such as Dove Medical, has strong momentum and real growth. Our overall approach is to remain flexible, balancing evolving individual customer needs with maintaining the quality and integrity of advanced level research output.