Informa Posts Loss as Europe’s Debt Crisis Dented Events Unit

Informa Plc, the publisher of Lloyd’s List, posted a first-half loss versus profit a year ago as Europe’s debt crisis forced it to sell events businesses in Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic and parts of Germany.

Informa posted a net loss of 41.9 million pounds ($65.1 million), compared with net income of 55.5 million pounds a year earlier, the Zug, Switzerland-based company said today. Revenue declined 2.4 percent to 619.6 million pounds.

The company took an 80 million-pound non-cash impairment charge after cutting about 550 events from its European businesses, as well as a 24.4 million loss on disposal. No further cuts to events, which makes up 47 percent of revenue, are expected this year, Chief Executive Officer Peter Rigby said in a phone interview today, adding Informa is looking to emerging markets for further growth.

“We’re keeping our heads down and making sure we’re efficient as we can be,” Rigby said. “Although it’s nice to hope that economies improve in the next six to 12 months, we don’t expect it.”

The shares dropped as much as 6.6 percent, the most in almost a year. The shares traded 5.5 percent lower at 9 a.m. in London.

Informa, which earlier this month bought one of Canada’s largest conference businesses for 34 million pounds, has about 100 million pounds in a full year for acquisitions and is seeking bolt-on assets of the same size or smaller, Rigby said.

While the company has no plans to sell parts of its business, “that doesn’t mean if someone came over the hill with a knockout bid for part of the business we wouldn’t consider it,” Rigby said.

Informa, which moved its tax base to Switzerland in 2009, is also monitoring corporate tax changes in the U.K. and could move back, Rigby said.

“We have residency on our agenda,” he said. “When we think it’s appropriate to return we will.”

Media companies including WPP Plc and UBM Plc have also said they were considering a move back to the U.K.