(Adds analyst comment, background, share price)
LONDON, April 23 Anglo-Dutch business information provider Reed Elsevier reiterated its forecasts for another year of underlying revenue and earnings growth after trading broadly in line during the first quarter.
Reed Elsevier, which competes with Thomson Reuters, said on Wednesday its first quarter underlying revenue growth rates across the business had remained consistent with its performance in 2013.
With the group operating well, it has completed 250 million pounds of its 600 million pound share buyback pencilled in for 2014.
"The outlook for 2014 is unchanged," it said. "We remain confident that, by continuing to execute on our strategy, we will deliver another year of underlying revenue, profit, and earnings growth."
Shares in the group, which have slipped in the last two weeks after almost two years of steady gains, opened up half a percent.
Reed Elsevier 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 its Scientific, Technical & Medical division, which contributed almost half of 2013 adjusted operating profit, was broadly unchanged from last year. Its risk solutions business, which provides data to clients in financial services, was again boosted by the demand for new products and services in the insurance industry.
The one weak spot for Reed in recent years however has been the reduced demand for its legal services in the United States and major European markets. It said on Wednesday that conditions in those areas remained subdued in the first quarter.
Analysts said they did not expect any changes to forecasts although they welcomed the steady progress on the share buyback.
"In all candour, we can't say this is a game-changing set of results - literally nothing has changed since the full-year results at the end of February," Citi said in a note to clients. (Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Sarah Young)