Informa is an academic and professional publisher and professional information and events provider. Informa has 100 offices in 25 countries under four divisions: Academic Publishing, Business Intelligence, Global Events, and Knowledge and Networking. The academic and business divisions were surveyed for this ranking, while revenue from event organization and conference business was not included.
Informa’s academic publishing specializes on books in niche subject areas and journals across subject areas within humanities, and social sciences, and STM. Its portfolio includes a list of more than 100,000 books and 2,100 journals along with the academic brand Taylor & Francis, which includes the publishing imprints of Routledge, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis, Garland Science and Psychology Press.
The Business Intelligence division creates content in a number of industry sectors with a special focus on niche customer segments including IT, telecoms & media, life sciences and healthcare, banking and financial services, maritime, automotive and logistics, agricultural commodities, energy consumer packaged goods and retail.
Analysis & Key Developments
Informa recorded stable revenues of 1.14 billion GBP for 2014, compared with the restated 2013 figure of 1.13 billion GBP. Adjusted operating profits were 334 million GBP, down from 336 million GBP in 2013.
The Academic unit posted revenues of 409 million GBP, against re-stated sales of 408 million GBP in 2013. According to company information, revenues were flat due to the negative impact of conversion rate for the US market, which accounted for almost 50% of sales in 2014.
In recent years, the Business Intelligence division struggled to grow due to headwinds in the pharma ad healthcare sector and flat renewal rates. The division experienced additional challenges in 2014 from lower one-off product sales and a decline in advertising sales, resulting in a revenue drop to 282 million GBP in 2014 from the 2013 restated figure of 306 million GBP. Under Patrick Martell who was appointed the division’s chief executive in 2014, the unit focuses on five priority verticals Finance, Pharma & Healthcare, TMT, Maritime & Law and Agriculture/Food.
After Stephen A. Carte was appointed group chief executive in early 2014, he announced a Growth Acceleration Plan to comprise a new operating structure, stronger management team, enhanced portfolio management, focused acquisition strategy, new investment program, and a new funding model. The underlying strategy is to gain positive organic growth from all four operating divisions through 2016.
E-book sales varied month-to-month through 2014, but overall growth was strong. Recognizing the continued importance of print sales, Informa plans to keep a “neutral approach” to format, according to a company statement. In 2014, 22% of sales were generated by e-books, up from 20% in 2013. All front-list titles and 60% of the backlist are available digitally.
In November, Informa published the sixth edition of The Molecular Biology of the Cell. The textbook sold nearly 25,000 copies by the end of the year.
Revenue from 2013 was corrected from 1.23 billion GBP to 1.13 billion GBP due to acquisitions and disposals related to Global Events.
Academic Publishing continued to perform well, with a particularly strong fourth quarter from sales in the US and Europe, though India was unable to maintain its expected growth due to the sharp depreciation in the rupee. Subscriptions represented 51% of revenue and gained by 2%, while hard copy sales increased by 5% and represented the remaining 49%. Academic Publishing accounted for 32% of continuing corporate revenue and 39% of continuing adjusted operating profit.
Business Intelligence noted lower revenue and profit in 2013 due to the transfer of medical books to Academic Publishing, along with lower renewals in high-margin subscriptions and lower revenue from consulting and one-off reports. In 2013, Business Intelligence accounted for 31% of continuing corporate revenue and 33% of continuing adjusted operating profit.
After more than 25 years, Peter Rigby retired as CEO. The Board appointed Stephen Carter who previously served on the Board of Informa as an independent Non-Executive Director.
Informa earns 46% of revenue from academic publishing in North America, followed by the UK (16%) and Europe 13%, with 25% from the rest of the world.
All of Informa’s journals and more than 50,000 book titles are available digitally, including all new titles. Academic e-books account for 20% of book revenue, compared with 16% in 2012, while 90% of Business Intelligence’s revenue is generated from digital sales.
Informa continued to invest in new products and technology, including the South Asian Culture and History Archive, an online database that provides research and teaching materials. In September, Informa launched Cogent OA, a new open access publishing brand.