February 19, 2014 / 9:57 AM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-Dutch publisher Wolters Kluwer sees pressure on margins

* 2013 earnings at bottom end of analysts’ forecast range

* Sees single-digit growth in 2014 EPS, lower profit margin

* Shares fall more than 4 pct

AMSTERDAM, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Wolters Kluwer sees lower profit margins this year as weakness in its European markets persists and the Dutch specialist publisher said on Wednesday it will outsource and sell more of its businesses to offset that.

The company - whose publications and software are used by doctors, bankers, accountants and lawyers - said some of its tax and accounting business, its second-largest, will be outsourced and it will keep streamlining through acquisitions and divestments.

Wolters’ shares fell more than 4 percent after it reported 2013 earnings at the lower end of forecasts, and it said it saw low, single-digit growth in earnings per share and a lower profit margin in 2014.

Cost-cutting measures were expected to reduce the ordinary earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) margin to within a range of 20.5 to 21.5 percent in 2014.

Last year, its ordinary EBITA margin - or the margin for EBITA adjusted for exceptional items - was 21.5 percent, at the bottom of its target range of 21.5 to 22.0 percent, and unchanged from 2012.

Chief Executive Nancy McKinstry said the restructuring measures would cost about 25 to 30 million euros and include an unspecified number of job cuts and ending of some suppliers’ contracts at the tax and accounting division.

Wolters Kluwer, which competes with Reuters’ owner Thomson Reuters and with Anglo-Dutch information group Reed Elsevier , will keep targetting more profitable, digital content in Europe, she said.

“We’ve been restructuring over the last couple of years and right-sizing the business. Our digital and services business now accounts for 77 percent of revenue and saw 4 percent growth last year,” she said.

Print revenues fell to 23 percent of the total in 2013 from 26 percent in 2012.

Last year it sold its traditional print business in the Netherlands and spent 192 million euros on acquisitions including Prosoft, a tax and accounting software provider based in Brazil. North America accounts for just over half of group sales, with Europe at about 40 percent and a small percentage from Asia.

The company said ordinary earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA), slipped 1 percent to 765 million euros on revenue of 3.565 billion euros, also down 1 percent.

Analysts, according to a Reuters poll, expected ordinary EBITA of 776 million euros on revenue of 3.597 billion.

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