Hyve surviving but Pure London owner doesn't see event normalisation until 2022
Despite a global events business decimated by Covid-19 in 2020 and an outlook of “disruption” in the events schedule in 2021, Hyve Group was still in a positive mood Tuesday delivering its final results for the year.
That was surprising for a company that doesn’t expect a return to a normalised schedule of events until fiscal 2022, “albeit with events still recovering in terms of revenue and customer numbers”.
But the positivity comes from a concentrated move not just to survive but to make sure it will still be around when that “normalised schedule” returns.
That has meant delivering cost savings “above our projections”, receiving "substantial" insurance payments, raising £126.6 million through a rights issue and "taking every possible step to conserve cash... so we end this year with a strong financial platform to weather Covid-19".
CEO Mark Shashoua said: “Since Covid-19 struck in March we have taken every measure within our control to protect our employees, customers and futureproof the business as markets reopen”.
So, as you'd expect, numbers for its trading year to end September "reflected the impact of this unprecedented pandemic."
Revenue fell 51% to £105 million from £220.7 million a year ago. Headline pre-tax losses hit £18.7 million, despite receipt of £22 million in insurance proceeds, from a profit of £50.4 million a year ago.
Statutory pre-tax losses ballooned to £312.9 million from a profit of £8.7 million 12 months ago. However, that included one-off non-cash impairment charges of £623 million.
But at least the company ended the year with a “strong" balance sheet with adjusted net debt of £67.7 million, cut from £111.7 million a year ago.
And the outlook? “While news of Covid-19 vaccines is very encouraging, we expect disruption to our events schedule into 2021”, said Shashoua.
“That said, as in-person events continue to return, Hyve's market-leading events are optimally placed to service the pent-up demand for learning, networking and trading whilst stimulating the global economy.
“Our strategy, strong financial platform and focus on developing an omnichannel business position us at the forefront of the recovery and give us the best chance to emerge successfully and get back to doing what we do best.”
Chairman Richard Last added: “We look forward, with some optimism, to an improving economy. We expect to see a steady increase in the number of in-person events being held, particularly in the second half of 2021. The size of the events will initially be smaller and more domestic when compared to the same events held prior to the pandemic".
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