February 15, 2018 / 11:38 AM / 9 days ago

UPDATE 1-RELX to lose the Dutch half of its Anglo-Dutch identity

(Adds CEO comments, shares)

By Paul Sandle

LONDON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - RELX , the Anglo-Dutch group created by the merger of Reed Business Information and Elsevier 25 years ago, said it would scrap its dual structure in favour of a single London-based parent company to simplify its operations.

The move came as the group, which owns LexisNexis legal research, reported a 6 percent rise in underlying adjusted operating profit of 2.28 billion pounds for 2017.

Chief Executive Erik Engstrom said a single parent company was a natural step following the renaming of the group from Reed Elsevier and creating a single entity three years ago.

“There’s no change to our strategy and there will be no change to the locations, activities or staffing levels of RELX group or any of its four business areas,” he said.

“Nothing will move from the Netherlands to the UK.”

Engstrom said Britain’s decision to leave the European Union was not a factor in deciding on the change.

“It was simply a matter that the UK company is slightly bigger, it’s a slightly bigger proportion of the total, and the group’s headquarters has always been in London, so it just became the more natural side to put it,” Chief Financial Officer Nick Luff told reporters.

“It’s cost and profit neutral. There’s no impact on how we pay tax or indeed where we pay tax.”

He said that as equity markets were much less country specific than they were 25 years ago, there were no significant benefits in continuing with the dual structure.

The move will leave Royal Dutch Shell and Unilever in a select group of major companies with a Anglo-Dutch corporate structure.

RELX was the newest of the three; Royal Dutch Shell was created in a 1907 merger and Unilever was founded in 1930 when Dutch margarine producer Margarine Unie combined with British soapmaker Lever Brothers.

RELX, which has focused on delivering information digitally and on its face-to-face exhibitions business in recent years, reported 4 percent underlying growth in revenue to 7.36 billion pounds ($10.35 billion).

It said there had been no change in key business trends since the end of the year, and it expected 2018 to be another year of growth in underlying revenue and adjusted operating profit.

Its shares were trading 2 percent lower in London and 1.7 percent lower in Amsterdam. ($1 = 0.7111 pounds) (Editing by Adrian Croft and Kirsten Donovan)

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