Informa plans first post-Covid events in China

Major events could be back on the cards in China next month, providing a welcome boost for Informa, which is preparing to hold a major cosmetics event in the country.

China Beauty Expo, which was originally scheduled for March, will become the first major Informa event in the post-coronavirus world.

It comes as many governments around the globe start to slowly scale back the restrictions they placed on their citizens to slow the spread of the disease and take pressure of healthcare systems.

China was the first country to be hit by the outbreak, and now started re-opening.

“The prospect of a return for some of our major Events brands in Mainland China from July is now real,” said chief executive Stephen Carter.

The company added: “Activity in China has picked up pace through the past month, with authorities recognising the controlled nature of trade shows and with exhibitors confident and keen to participate to help rekindle trading activity.

“Absent any resurgence of the virus and reimposition of more restrictive control measures, the outlook for those brands due to run in the region through the second half looks encouraging.”

Informa gets just under two thirds of its revenue from its events business, an arm that has suffered greatly as most countries banned large gatherings of people.

The company has been forced to cancel more than 160 events.

In the last two months its events team has not traded any physical product anywhere in the world, Informa said.

Where possible, its bookers have re-scheduled events, but they have also switched other events online.

In the US, its largest events market, Informa is not expecting to run any physical events before September.

Other parts of the business have done better, Informa told shareholders ahead of its annual meeting on Friday.

Its subscriptions arm, which includes academic publisher Taylor & Francis, has been an anchor for the company, and is trading well during lockdown.

“At Informa, our subscriptions businesses continue to perform resiliently against a tough market backdrop, whilst our events businesses – in the absence of physical exhibitions, events and conferences – are working closely with customers to provide alternative digital services, with a focus on long-term relationships ahead of short-term revenue,” Mr Carter said.

The business has identified at least £400 million in cost savings.

Shares rose by 6.6% on the news.

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