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AMSTERDAM Feb 20 Dutch publisher Wolters Kluwer
reported slightly better-than-expected 2012 results
thanks to a pick-up in the important North American market and a
further shift to online subscriptions.
The firm, whose specialist publications and software are
used by doctors, bankers, accountants, and lawyers, also
appointed Kevin Entricken as Chief Financial Officer, replacing
Boudewijn Beerkens who is joining a Dutch family-owned company.
Wolters Kluwer, which competes with Reed Elsevier
and Thomson Reuters , still sees low
single-digit earnings-per-share growth this year.
But it slightly revised its target for earnings before
interest, tax and amortization (EBITA) margin to a range of 21.5
to 22.0 percent, from 21.5 to 22.5 percent previously, to
reflect accounting changes and restructuring.
More than 75 percent of the group's revenue comes from
online or electronic products, up from 71 percent in 2011.
"Online services dominates our portfolio and will continue
to do so," Chief Executive Nancy McKinstry told Reuters, a shift
which would help underpin the business despite tough conditions
in Europe this year.
"We will focus investments on our leading, high-growth
positions, while actively pursuing portfolio refinements and
operating efficiencies in order to accelerate growth and raise
returns," McKinstry said.
The stock trades on a forward 12-month enterprise value (EV)
to EBITDA ratio of 7.7 according to Starmine's SmartEstimates,
against 7.5 for Reed Elsevier and 9.4 for Thomson and
at a 22 percent discount to its peer group.
Earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA),
excluding exceptional items, rose 8 percent to 785 million euros
from 728 million euros in 2011. Revenue rose 7 percent to 3.603
Analysts in a poll commissioned by Reuters had expected
ordinary EBITA of 771 million euros on revenue of 3.552 billion
euros. Wolters Kluwer shares were up 0.5 percent by 0845 GMT.
(Reporting by Sara Webb; editing by Mark John)