The world’s largest exhibitions organizer, London-based Informa plc, outlined on April 16th a series of emergency actions it’s taking to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its events business, which drives nearly two-thirds of the company’s overall revenues.
Noting that the effects have been “significantly deeper, more volatile and wide-reaching,” than was initially anticipated, the company says it’s temporarily suspending dividends, cutting executive pay and issuing new shares worth about 20% of its total existing capital in an effort to strengthen its balance sheet and reduce its approximately £2.4 billion ($2.9 billion) in debt to £1.4 billion ($1.7 billion). Further, Informa says it’s engaged in “constructive discussions” with its U.S.-based debt holders over a covenant waiver agreement.
“Since the beginning of 2020, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has become progressively deeper and more far-reaching than initially predicted,” said CEO Stephen Carter in a statement. “We have continued to adapt and respond quickly, always prioritizing the safety of colleagues and customers, making decisions for the long-term value of our brands and businesses and seeking to preserve jobs and invest in our intellectual property.”
Informa says it’s achieved more than £130 million ($162 million) in savings in part by pausing company-wide recruitment, salary reviews and merit raises and suspending its sabbatical program. Additionally, Carter and CFO Gareth Wright are giving up 33% of their respective salaries, while the rest of the executive management team will see their pay cut by 25%.
To date, the company says it’s postponed more than 400 total events in 2020, and canceled 60 others, representing more than £610 million ($759 million) in lost or delayed revenues.
The company, however, sees a “gradual and phased recovery from Q3 into the final quarter of the year”.