Global publisher and event organiser Reed Elsevier has announced a revenue increase of 15 per cent in its exhibition division and increases across all other divisions including the scientific, technical and medical division which accounts for the biggest share of group earnings.
Publishing its annual financial results for 2012, 28 February, the company earmarked a further £300m for share buybacks this year as the Anglo-Dutch company presses ahead with sales of its print and advertising-reliant businesses.
The FTSE 100 company’s announcement 28 February comes on top of the £350m that it has already returned to shareholders through share buybacks since the start of 2012.
Commenting on the results, chairman Anthony Habgood said: “Reed Elsevier executed well on its strategic and financial priorities in 2012. Positive revenue momentum and focus on operating efficiency combined to lift underlying operating growth and earnings. We have continued to strengthen our balance sheet while maintaining organic investment and sharpening the focus of the business. We are recommending a seven per cent increase in the full year dividends.”
Reed has been increasingly under pressure from investors to move away from its legacy magazine-based businesses while focusing on online subscription and research products such as its LexisNexis databases.
Last October Reed sold film industry trade paper Variety, and earlier this year disposed of RBI Australia, the publisher of titles such as Australian Doctor and Pharmacy News.
Reed’s print businesses have dropped from producing half of group revenues to around 20 per cent in eight years.
Asset sales, meanwhile, have increased across all its divisions.
In the 12 months to December 31, Reed reported that revenues rose three per cent to £6.1bn, while pre-tax profit rose 25 per cent to £1.2bn.
The group’s net debt was cut from £3.4bn to £3.1bn and operating profits, adjusted to exclude the effects of one-off occurrences, rose five per cent to £1.7bn, in line with analyst expectations.
The exhibitions division also posted a 20 per cent increase in adjusted operating profit.
A final total dividend of 15.9p was up from 15p.
Chief Executive Officer Erik Engstrom (pictured), added: “By the end of 2012 approximately 80 per cent of our revenues were in our targeted formats of electronic and face to face, which generated average underlying revenue growth rates of 5-7 per cent.”
“In 2012, we continued to pursue our strategy primarily through organic development, investing in digital platforms such as New Lexis, and new launches of products and events. Acquisitions were limited to small content and data assets across all markets, such as EDIWatch in Risk Solutions and Atira in Elsevier, and assets in high growth geographies, such as Alcantara Machado, the leading exhibitions organiser in Brazil.”
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