LONDON - Strong demand for events and training enabled British business media group Informa
The company, which publishes shipping guide Lloyd's List and organises exhibitions and events, said Wednesday it had continued to grow after it cut back on smaller and discretionary events during the downturn in 2008, leaving it with stronger key exhibitions in certain sectors.
Finance Director Adam Walker told Reuters it would continue to look for acquisitions next year but if it fails to identify much of a pipeline it will instead look at ways to increase returns to shareholders.
We're not complacent but we're very pleased with the results, he said, as the shares rose 3.7 percent.
Much of Informa's growth was driven by its events and training business, which posted organic revenue growth for the period of 5.2 percent, which it said was slightly ahead of the expected full-year growth rate.
The exhibition division performed well with a strong performance from its new Brazilian printing show, an Australian furniture show and the Monaco Yacht show.
Although the economic environment is uncertain, we have not seen any impact on current trading, Chief Executive Peter Rigby said. The group is generating organic growth across all three divisions, recent acquisitions are performing well and we remain on track to meet our expectations for the full year.
The operating cash flow over the past three months was in line with previous years, it said, and it now expects leverage to drop to the lower end of its target range of 2.0 to 2.5 times net debt to EBITDA by the year end.
Analysts welcomed the results and the resilience shown against the tough macro conditions.
Clearly this is encouraging and given the nature of Informa's revenue mix (the majority offers significant visibility for a year ahead) it seems likely that the scale of downside risk to 2012 forecasts is modest unless there is a global macro shock, Singer Capital Markets said in a note.
Informa has often been linked to takeover rumours as the company generates strong cash and has reduced its reliance on the more volatile advertising revenues in recent years. However Walker said the company was not in talks with anyone and said they were enjoying running the business in its current state.
(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)