March 10, 2020 / 7:06 AM / in 25 days

UPDATE 2-Informa pulls 128 events worth $500 mln-plus as coronavirus spreads

* Delays or postpones 128 events because of virus

* Company not providing 2020 outlook

* Says COVID-19 will impact events-related business

* Full-year profit and revenue beats expectations (Adds detail, background)

By Yadarisa Shabong

March 10 (Reuters) - Informa, the world’s largest exhibitions group, has delayed or cancelled 128 events worth an estimated 425 million pounds in revenue ($554 million) because of the coronavirus and will hold off from giving financial guidance for 2020.

The British group’s measures come as governments and companies restrict travel and urge people to avoid crowds to counter the global spread of a disease that has claimed more than 4,000 lives and infected 114,000 people.

“We are facing a 2020 impact from COVID-19 in our events-related businesses and ... swiftly deploy a material postponement programme, shifting our events calendar to later dates in 2020,” said Chief Executive Stephen Carter.

“At this point we are not providing market guidance for the Informa Group in 2020,” the company added.

Informa shares, which have fallen by more than a third this year and by about 25% in the past fortnight, gained 4% in early trading after it reported 2019 revenue and profit slightly ahead of analyst forecasts.

The company said it was postponing 45 large events, worth 350 million pounds in budgeted revenue, and delaying 70 smaller events worth a total of about 50 million pounds while cancelling a further 13 worth 25 million pounds.

Informa’s markets business produces more than 450 international events and trade shows a year in more than 40 countries, ranging from World of Concrete to the Monaco Yacht Show and the China Beauty Expo. It gains about half of its revenue from the markets arm and 13% from China and Hong Kong.

The company, which also has academic publishing and business intelligence operations, reported a more than 27% jump in adjusted full-year operating profit to 933.1 million pounds on revenue of 2.89 billion pounds.

That compared with a company-supplied analyst consensus of 915.6 million pounds in operating profit on revenue of 2.86 billion pounds. ($1 = 0.7666 pounds) (Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru Editing by Aditya Soni and David Goodman)

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