* 2014 results in line with forecasts
* To simplify structure into one unit
* Shares down 5 percent (Adds reaction, share price)
LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Anglo Dutch publisher Reed Elsevier plans to rename itself RELX and simplify its structure into one unit to make it more transparent for investors in the latest stage of its transformation.
Europe’s largest media group has evolved in recent years, putting a greater focus on its fast-growing risk and events units and sending its shares up more than 150 percent since 2012.
On Thursday it reported 2014 results broadly in line with forecasts, predicted further growth for 2015 and announced plans for a 500 million pound ($777 million) share buyback.
Its shares slumped, however, as analysts questioned whether the solid performance would be enough to sustain the strong share price momentum and others noted that the buyback was down on last year’s 600 million pounds.
The London-listed shares have risen 9 percent this year.
Analysts at Citi also said the alignment of the shareholder structure - maintaining a dual listing but combining all its assets into a single new group entity and balancing the ratio of the shares - could favour the Dutch line over the British Plc line.
Citi said there had previously been a 9 percent discount.
“We believe that it will be beneficial to all shareholders to move to a very simple structure, where you only have one entity and you have two classes of shares, one listed through a Dutch parent company and one listed through a London parent company,” Chief Executive Erik Engstrom told reporters.
Reed reported 2014 underlying sales up 3 percent, in line with forecasts.
Underlying adjusted operating profit grew 5 percent and the company said it expected good growth in 2015.
But Engstrom said he could not yet predict when the group would move above the 3 percent rate of growth attained in each of the past four years.
Analysts at Investec said with the shares outperforming the stock market, they were no longer cheap.
Shares in the Plc were down 4.7 percent at 1130 pence while shares in the Dutch stock were down 2.6 percent. ($1 = 0.6437 pounds) (Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Paul Sandle and Jason Neely)