By M Q Syed with inputs from Greg Dool
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected perhaps none more than Informa plc, the world’s largest exhibitions company, which was forced to cancel or postpone, more than 450 exhibitions scheduled for the spring and summer. Informa generates about 65% of its revenues through its events business.
Informa, Reed Exhibitions and Clarion Events have recently formed collaboration.
In a recent update, Informa plc announced that it it expects to generate about £2 billion ($2.5 billion) in overall revenue in 2020, which would represent a 30.8% decline from the £2.89 billion it reported in its 2019 financial results.
The statement said, “It is clear that some locations outside china will take a lot longer to come out of the other side of COVID-19, both in terms of the permissions and practicalities of running an event and the confidence of participants to return.”
Informa recently also formed collaborations with Reed Exhibitions and Clarion Events. In addition, the company is continuing with a number of cost-cutting measures which includes suspension of dividends, salary cuts and a freeze on recruitment, salary reviews and merit raises.
Informa says it’s generated at least $500 million in savings through these measures and others. A share placement in April, worth about 20% of its existing capital, raised an additional £1 billion ($1.25 billion), the company said Friday.
“The prospect of a return for some of our major Events brands in Mainland China is now real,” said Informa CEO Stephen Carter in a statement.
Even as the world is living in a lock down era, the need to connect buyers and sellers endures, leading organizers across the industry to turn to virtual events as a means of keeping constituents engaged and recouping some lost business.
One such solution that has emerged is webinars, which Informa Markets is now producing around three-times as many as it traditionally would have. Events of any kind unlikely to return until the Fall at the earliest these online gatherings are laying the groundwork for the exhibitions industry’s path into the future, which organisers believe will move as hybrid live and virtual.