- Information and events company Ascential said it had decided to defer the Cannes Lions festival for achievements in advertising to October, back from June, and had also suspended its share buyback programme.

The company said the decision to push back the festival was made in collaboration with its customers and the city of Cannes, France.

Ascential said about a quarter of its annual revenue came from destination events income, mainly Cannes Lions and Money20/20 events in Amsterdam, in June, and Las Vegas, in October.

'A final decision has yet to be taken on whether to activate the previously announced contingency dates for Money20/20 Europe and we continue to engage closely with customers and follow the advice of the Dutch government, the WHO and local authorities in Amsterdam,' the company said.

As for Cannes Lions, contracted customer delegate passes, award entries and sponsorship arrangements would be automatically transferred to the new dates.

'Any additional costs that may be incurred as a result of the postponement are not currently expected to be material,' Ascential said.

Trading, it added, continued to be in line with previous guidance, reflecting a heavy bias towards digital subscriptions and platforms, advisory and benchmark revenue streams.

'However, in light of the rapidly changing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the board has decided not to reconfirm financial guidance and has taken the prudent decision to put the share buyback programme on hold for the time being,' it added.

Ascential said it had a robust balance sheet and ample liquidity.

'It also has a good degree of flexibility to reschedule its major events within the financial year and expects to be operating well within its covenants at the next testing date at the end of June 2020,' the company added.

At 1:38pm: [LON:ASCL] Ascential PLC share price was -15.9p at 239.1p

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