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London: Informa (LSE: INF.L), the International Exhibitions, Events, Information Services and Advanced Learning Group, today issued a trading update for the 10-month period ending 31 October 2019.
Following the successful combination with UBM through the Accelerated Integration Plan, Informa has continued to perform well, with underlying revenue growth for the 10-month period to 31 October 2019 at 2.8%. This reflects a good underlying performance, balanced against strong comparable growth in the third quarter last year, fewer of our major brands operating in the period and two market-specific, in-year impacts within Informa Markets in Hong Kong and Dubai.
November and December are significant trading months for the enlarged Informa Group, representing around 20% of annual revenue, with November alone accounting for more than £350m. This includes a key period for subscription renewals and consulting business at Informa Intelligence, Informa Tech and Taylor & Francis, whilst we also run a number of major event Brands through the period, including in Pharma & Healthcare (CPhI Worldwide, CPhI India, BioEurope) and Technology (AI Summit, AfricaCom, Blackhat Europe).
Despite ongoing economic/geo-political uncertainty, our forward pacing for the remainder of 2019 provides reassurance on our Group revenue guidance of 3.5% for the year. Furthermore, the breadth and balance of the enlarged Group, the quality of our revenue growth and strong visibility of forward bookings and renewals into the first quarter of 2020 gives us confidence in the strength and resilience of future growth.
Our international scale and depth in a range of attractive and growing specialist B2B markets delivered strong performances through the third quarter in Health & Nutrition (SupplySide West), Hospitality, Food & Beverage (Hotelex) and Design & Furniture (Furniture China), amongst others.
We are also continuing to see good progress in the Fashion portfolio following the launch of the Fashion GAP Plan, stemming the historical decline in attendance over previous years, improving NPS scores and successfully launching OneMagic. This is laying the foundation for further improvement in 2020, supporting our target to return the Fashion portfolio to growth by 2021.
The Group had two market-specific, in-year impacts through the period: in Dubai, increasing commitment to World Expo 2020, combined with challenging market conditions, has had a significant effect on traditional exhibitions investment, particularly in Real Estate & Construction, impacting Cityscape Global, in September. In Hong Kong, where we generate around 4% of Group revenue, recent civil protests have had a small impact on revenue growth at some events. This affected our largest brand in the region during September, the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Show, although a strong programme of support, including investment in additional security and transport, ensured the show still ran effectively.
The underlying performance of Informa Markets was strong in the first 10-months of the year, despite these impacts in Dubai and Hong Kong, delivering 3.4% underlying revenue growth across the period.
A number of our largest and fastest growing Brands operate through the last two months of the year and forward bookings are on track, most notably in Pharma (CPhI Worldwide, Food Ingredients Europe, CPhI India), and Maritime, Transportation & Logistics (Marintec, Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show). This will lead to a re-acceleration in growth through to year-end, although given the two, in-year impacts, growth for the year is now expected to be 4.5%- rather than 4.5%+.