Anglo-Dutch publisher Reed Elsevier (REL) unveiled a simplified operating structure and a new name, RELX, alongside this decent set of full-year results. Change isn't unusual at the group, which owns the world's largest scientific journal publishing and events businesses, Elsevier and Reed Exhibitions: it has already transformed itself from a print publisher into a technology, analytics and specialist content powerhouse.
Ignore event cycles and revenues rose 3 per cent, lifting adjusted operating profit by 5 per cent to £1.74bn. That reflected innovation, international expansion and Reed's unwavering focus on improving its content platforms. It also pruned its portfolio, making 17 disposals, and shelled out £385m for 27 assets - spanning automotive telematics, healthcare data and anti-money-laundering software.
Strip out currency impacts and operating profits rose across the board. That included a 12 per cent increase in exhibitions, as the division launched 36 new events and expanded into fast-growing countries and industries. Moreover, the insurance side of its risk division benefited from buoyant demand for US auto underwriting and mounting interest in its security and fraud-detection services. Depressed US and European markets weighed on the legal division, but operating profit still climbed a tenth thanks to a streamlined portfolio and greater efficiency.
Broker Numis expects pre-tax profits of £1.72bn this year, giving EPS of 61.8p, up from £1.58bn and 56.1p in 2014.
|REED ELSEVIER (REL)|
|ORD PRICE:||1,142p||MARKET VALUE:||£20.8bn|
|TOUCH:||1,142-1,143p||12-MONTH HIGH:||1,199p||LOW: 852p|
|DIVIDEND YIELD:||2.3%||PE RATIO:||27|
|NET ASSET VALUE:||116p*||NET DEBT:||166%|
|Year to 31 Dec||Turnover (£bn)†||Pre-tax profit (£bn)†||Earnings per share (p)||Dividend per share (p)|
Ex-div: 30 Apr
Payment: 22 May
*Includes intangible assets of £8.15bn, or 448p a share
†Turnover and pre-tax profit are for the combined Anglo-Dutch entity, while earnings and dividend per share are for Reed Elsevier plc