June 12, 2020 / 7:02 AM / in 21 days

UK's Informa to resume trade fairs in China from July, shares rise

(Reuters) - Informa Plc (INF.L) plans to hold in July its first major event since the coronavirus pandemic led to widespread cancellations of trade fairs, the world’s largest exhibitions organiser said on Friday.

Shares in the FTSE 100 company, which have lost nearly half their value this year, gained 9% after it said its China Beauty Expo in Shanghai - which draws more than 3,500 exhibitors - would kick off the resumption of post-lockdown events in China.

Informa, which organises events such as Monaco Yacht Show, World of Concrete and Arab Health, however said it was unlikely that physical events would resume before September in the United States, its largest market.

The company, which envisaged a nearly one-third drop in 2020 revenue, also identified cost savings of more than 400 million pounds ($503 million) to halt a slide in profit.

It estimates that annual revenue this year will be about 2 billion pounds against 2.89 billion pounds reported in 2019.

Analysts at Credit Suisse said the estimate was close to current consensus.

“Encouragingly, where events have been cancelled and the focus shifted to 2021, customer demand for rebates has been relatively low,” Informa said in a statement.

Over 160 events have been cancelled or rescheduled from 2020 to 2021, it said, adding that another 300-plus brands have instead opted for digital events this year.

“Further rescheduling of events within 2020 is unlikely given the volume of brands now scheduled in the final four months of the year, with limited remaining venue capacity available,” it said.

Informa raised 1 billion pounds through a share sale in April to cushion the impact of the pandemic.

The London-listed firm also said its subscription business was trading well, particularly across its clinical trials and drug development brands in the pharmaceutical sector.

Reporting by Aniruddha Ghosh and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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