* Q1 underlying growth rates consistent with 2011 trends
* On track for underlying revenue and profit growth in 2012
* Sees modest underlying revenue growth at core Elsevier unit
* London-listed shares up 1.45 percent
By Adveith Nair
LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - Anglo-Dutch publishing and events group Reed Elsevier said it was on track for further profit growth this year thanks to demand in the science and health sectors.
Reed, which publishes scientific, business and academic information, said on Tuesday first-quarter growth rates were consistent with 2011 trends, echoing comments it made in February along with stronger 2011 results.
Citi analyst Thomas Singlehurst said in a note: “Overall the reaffirmation of full-year outlook should be welcomed as it signals full-year numbers should be well set.”
“We expect limited change to full-year consensus.”
Analysts currently expect Reed to report a pretax profit of about 1.4 billion pounds ($2.3 billion) in 2012, on sales of about 6.1 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll.
London-listed shares in the company were up 1.45 percent at 523 pence by 0825 GMT.
Reed said it expects modest underlying revenue growth at its Elsevier business, which provides science and health information and accounts for 47 percent of group profit, on research volume growth and higher demand for electronic products and tools.
Underlying revenue growth at its LexisNexis Legal & Professional division - which competes with Thomson Reuters Westlaw - remained marginally positive during the quarter despite subdued market conditions, Reed added.
It, however, warned that the scope for short-term underlying sales growth or margin expansion at the unit - which accounted for 14 percent of 2011 group profits and returned to revenue growth just last year - remained limited.
Reed said good growth in usage and new sales of online research and litigation tools continued in the U.S., while print products and web based listings declined. In international markets, the format migration was reflected by declining print sales and good growth in online solutions, it added.
“We expect some focus on the commentary on the Legal & Publishing business,” Citi analyst Singlehurst said.
“In practice, this was mentioned at the full-year 2011 results, however its strident reiteration may dampen enthusiasm about growth in the medium-term,” the analyst added.