Informa shares slide as conference cancellations around the world hit profits

Events giant Informa has crashed to a £740 million loss after coronavirus led to postponements and cancellations.

In the first six months this year 160 events – including Game Developers Conference and Aesthetic World Congress – were unable to go ahead due to the pandemic.

Revenues came in at £814.4 million, down 26% year-on-year, with the exhibitions arm down 45%.

Nevertheless chief executive and Gordon Brown’s former chief of staff Stephen Carter said he was upbeat about the future with conferences slowly returning to normal in China.

He said: “Encouragingly, we have seen our physical events business recover in China, whilst our increasing participation in virtual events is maintaining our brands, developing our digital services and enhancing our data capabilities.”

Many analysts believe the events industry has already hit a bottom this year though some have warned that as long as business travel remains subdued, the first half of 2021 would be bleak.

The company in April had cancelled its dividend and raised £1 billion in equity to buffer the impact of the pandemic.

It also intends to renegotiate its debt terms with its lenders.