Relx simplifies its corporate structure with London parent pick

 
Oliver Gill
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Relx's exhibition organising subsidiary is the biggest operator in the world (Source: Relx)

Media giant Relx has picked London for its top base as the FTSE 100 firm simplifies its quirky corporate structure.

Relx, the world’s biggest exhibition organiser, is to unite a legacy dual parent holding company structure into a single UK parent.

Dutch Relx NV shareholders will receive UK shares. Once the changes are completed, Relx’s premium listing will be on the London Stock Exchange, with additional listings in Amsterdam and New York.

Relx said there will be no changes to the locations, activities or staffing levels. They simplify a structure dating back to British publisher Reed International’s £5.3bn merger with Dutch rival Elsevier in 1992.

Record

The changes come as Relx today posted record annual revenue and earnings for 2017.

The firm grew its top line by four per cent to £7.4bn with underlying adjusted operating profit up six per cent at £2.3bn.

Dividends to UK shareholders were hiked 10 per cent to 39.4p.

Read more: Relx snaps up "card not present" tech firm for £580m

“We achieved good underlying revenue growth in 2017 and continued to generate underlying operating profit growth ahead of revenue growth. Key business trends in the early part of 2018 are consistent with 2017,” said Relx chief executive Erik Engstrom – who has seen the company’s share price triple seen taking office in 2009.

We believe that the systematic evolution of our business has driven an improvement in our business profile and the quality of our earnings, with more predictable revenues, a higher growth profile, and improving returns.

Shares fell over two per cent in morning trading, despite analysts saying results were in line with expectations.

Notwithstanding the share price rise under Engstrom, Liberum analyst Ian Whittaker said Relx shares have been the worst performer of the major European names.

But, he added: “We view this as unwarranted given the quality of the assets and the solidity of the company."

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