Revenue at Taylor & Francis fell 4.4% in the six months to 30th June 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, half-year results from parent firm Informa show.
The publisher's revenues fell to £245.2m, down from £256.5m in 2020. Statutory operating profit also decreased 4.5% to £59m, while adjusted operating profit declined 11.5% to £86m, from £97.2m at the same time last year.
However, Informa said there was underlying growth of 3% at the publisher, describing it as a “strong” first half performance “reflecting flexible, customer-led approach and consistent investment, including in Open Research”. It reported “robust subscription renewals, strength in e-books and a full pipeline of Open Research activity” were expected to deliver more than 2% underlying revenue growth in the full year.
The report said: “In Taylor & Francis, subscription renewals remain robust, as does forward growth. In royalty-based publishing (including our books business), consistent expansion of our frontlist and a strong focus on identifying underserved subject areas continues to produce results, aided by a full period of access to university libraries and bookshops through the first half, unlike in H1 2020.”
It added: “In Open Research, our investment in building a platform of scale and quality, with a broad base of flexible, customer-led offerings for authors, funders and institutions, continues to deliver. This is reflected in the volume of Open Research articles published in the first half, which were up 20% on the same period in 2020.”
For Informa as a whole, statutory revenues were down 15.4% to £688.9m, from £814.4m at the same time last year, while adjusted operating profit was £69.2m, down 41.7% from £118.6m in 2020. The first half's reported revenues and profits were lower than in 2020 "due to the prior year period including over two months of physical events revenues before Covid-19 control measures were introduced in North America, the Middle East and Europe".
However, its statutory operating loss was down to £58m from £739.9m at the same time last year. Informa said this was partly down to a reduction in Covid-related costs.
Stephen A Carter, group c.e.o. of Informa, said: "Informa's subscriptions-led businesses continue to deliver improving growth, reflecting our consistent investment in product development and increasing focus on specialist brands in growth markets."
He added: "Our physical events business is increasingly returning in mainland China and progressively rebuilding in North America and the Middle East, with positive forward bookings and growing commercial confidence. Clearly, however, there is continuing restriction and uncertainty in other parts of the world and we continue to monitor the rules and relaxation approaches on a country-by-country basis."
Carter concluded: "Looking ahead over the next three years, a growth acceleration plan will focus on delivering further growth in subscriptions and services, progressive recovery in physical events and continued expansion of our range of digital services, to meet growing customer demand for data-led, digital solutions in all our businesses."