UK’s Informa lifts annual expectations on strong demand; shares jump

(Reuters) -Informa increased its full-year revenue and profit expectations on Tuesday, as the British company benefits from sustained post-pandemic demand for face-to-face events and it branches into new markets.

Shares in the FTSE 100 company were up 5.9% to 743.8 pence, making it the second-biggest gainer on the blue-chip index.

The London-listed company has logged strong growth recently as its efforts to expand into newer markets such as healthcare and luxury have paid off and the events industry has recovered from a pandemic-led slump.

The company has also increased prices in 2023, and is looking at further hikes next year, Group Finance Director Gareth Wright said in an interview.

Its academic business, home to journal publisher Taylor & Francis, has benefited from demand for its pay-to-read and pay-to-publish services.

“Full-year revenues will be ahead of 2019 levels in all major geographies, including North America, South America, ASEAN, Europe and China,” the company said in a statement.

Mainland China has seen significant acceleration through the year following the removal of COVID-19 restrictions, although Hong Kong has been a bit slower to reopen, Wright added.

Informa now expects 2023 adjusted operating profit of more than 840 million pounds ($1.03 billion) on revenue of over 3.15 billion pounds, compared with an earlier forecast for a profit of 790 million pounds on revenue of 3.05 billion pounds.

The company, which organises cybersecurity event Black Hat, also increased its share buybacks to 1.15 billion pounds, citing strong cash flow.

($1 = 0.8139 pounds)

(Reporting by Eva Mathews and Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema, Subhranshu Sahu and Sharon Singleton)