(Adds details, reaction)
LONDON, July 24 Anglo-Dutch information provider
Reed Elsevier said it expected a year of
underlying profit growth after demand for exhibitions and
financial news helped it to beat first-half earnings forecasts.
Reed, Europe's largest media company by market cap, recorded
underlying growth across all four of its major divisions in the
six months to June 30.
The group, which provides content and analysis for
professionals including doctors, lawyers, scientists and
insurers, reported first-half revenue of 2.9 billion pounds
($4.9 billion) and adjusted operating profit of 860 million
pounds, in line with forecasts.
Adjusted earnings per share at 27.8 pence topped a forecast
of 27.1 pence.
The shares were up 2 percent and the top gainers on the FTSE
100 Index, giving Reed a market valuation of 20.9
"The results should reinforce the view of Reed as a "safe"
yet growing solid defensive name," Liberum analyst Ian Whittaker
said, adding that he now recommended switching into Reed from
Pearson, the education and media group which has
suffered a series of earnings downgrades.
Reed is in the process of moving more of its content to
digital platforms, where data can be more easily organised,
searched and analysed.
The group said underlying revenue grew by 3 percent at its
Scientific, Technical & Medical division and by 6 percent at its
Risk Solutions Business, which provides data to clients in
Its Exhibitions division was up 8 percent and Legal, which
has been hit by weakness in the United States and major European
markets, was up 1 percent. Encouragingly for the Legal division,
its margins improved due to portfolio changes and improvements
to the way the division is run.
"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," Chief Executive Erik Engstrom said.
($1 = 0.5874 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Li-mei Hoang)