News Column

Reed Elsevier leads the FTSE 100 as profits soar

July 25, 2014


EUROPE'S largest media group Reed Elsevier yesterday said it expected another strong year of underlying revenue, profit and earnings growth after demand for exhibitions and financial news helped it to beat profit forecasts during the first half of the year.

Anglo-Dutch Reed, which has a market valuation of around 20.9bn, led the FTSE 100 risers yesterday as its shares leapt 4.37 per cent following its interim results to 980p.

The group reported a four per cent jump in first-half revenue to 2.9bn, with all four of its business divisions in growth, and profit per share of 27.8p topping the forecasted 27.1p.

"Underlying trends in our business continue to be positive as we enter the second half, and we remain confident that we will deliver another year of underlying revenue, profit, and earnings growth in 2014," said chief executive Erik Engstrom.

Reed has been rapidly transforming from a print business, which accounted for 50 per cent of its total revenue in 2007, to a digital- and exhibitionbased business which represented 84 per cent of its first half revenue.

"In the first half we continued the transformation of our business, add-ing datasets and analytics and building out our leading global platforms, primarily through organic development," added Engstrom.

The group said underlying revenue grew by three per cent at its Scientific, Technical & Medical division and by six per cent at its Risk Solutions Busi-ness, which provides data to clients in financial services.

ANALYST VIEWS WHAT DID YOU MAKE OF REED ELSEVIER'S INTERIM FINANCIAL RESULTS? By Oliver Smith IAN WHITTAKER LIBERUM The market will like Reed saying it expects organic revenue growth to accelerate over time, given improvements in the quality of the business, and the potential to increase level of cash return, and given that Reed wants to maintain the leverage level it has seen over the past several years.

GARETH DAVIES NUMIS Reed's margin of 30.2 per cent was comfortably ahead of our 29.5 per cent estimate. The margin in Exhibitions was in line, but the other three business units were all ahead of our estimate. Legal was particularly encouraging, up 250 basis points on the prior year - we were at 170 basis points.

STEVE LIECHTI INVESTEC The first half results were generally above forecast. The 2014 outlook is unchanged though underlying trends continue to be positive for the second half. Reed is confident on its 2014 underlying revenue, profit and earnings growth. We believe Reed's fundamental drivers are still strong.

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Source: City A.M. (UK)

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