Event organiser Informa expects to be cash positive from the start of 2021

Having watched its share price crash to half the level it began the year at, FTSE 100 listed event organiser, Informa (LON:INF), has published another update showing that recovery is on the horizon.

The company that its COVID Financing Action Plan is now complete, which will provide it with “long-term Stability and Security in relation to its balance sheet, with no debt maturities until 2023, no financial covenants and available liquidity of more than £1bn”.

This followed nine months of financing activities, including the issue of a follow-on £150 million in Sterling Bonds; issuing £640m equivalent Euro Bonds with 5-year maturities; £1 billion raised through a share placing; and the company securing and then cancelling a £750 million short-term Surplus Credit Facility and £1.1 billion in US Private Placement loan notes.

Informa said that having completed its Financing Action Plan, it will continue its Cost Management Programme, which is on track to deliver £600 million is run-rate savings by the end of 2020. This, it said, will ensure it will be cash positive from January 2021 – even without physical events outside of Mainland China and outdoor events.

The company added that given its half-year results were published in late September, its pre-closing trading update will be delivered following the end of the 2020 trading year.

Speaking on the action company’s action plan and financing progress, Group Chief Executive, Stephen Carter, said:

“Informa continues to build Stability and Security through 2021 and beyond, reflecting the combination of continuing strength in digital subscriptions, the progressive re-opening of physical events in Mainland China and other parts of Asia, and growth across our virtual events and media brands, alongside our ongoing cost and cash management programmes.”

He added: “Following a nine-month programme of activity, we have now concluded the restructuring, refinancing and rescheduling of our debt. Combined with the continued delivery of our COVID-19 Action Plan, this ensures Informa is on track to deliver positive free cash flow from early 2021, with over £1 billion of available liquidity.”

Despite the positive news, Informa shares dipped by between 4% and 5% on Wednesday, down to over 543p a share. This was likely a bounce-back from Tuesday’s over-excited response to vaccine hopes, which saw the company’s shares climb around 27% in one session.

Today’s price is ahead of the company’s year-to-date low of 354p seen in September, but behind analysts’ target price of 644p a share. Analysts currently have a consensus ‘Buy’ stance on the stock, while the Marketbeat community give it a 50.98% “underperform” rating.

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Senior Journalist at the UK Investor Magazine. Also a contributing writer at the Investment Observer, UK Property Journal and UK Startup Magazine. Postgraduate of King's College London with a specialisation in Business Ethics. Interested in Development Economics and David Hume.