Sigh of relief for Reed Elsevier as results hit targets

Steve Dinneen
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REED Elsevier, which publishes Variety and New Scientist, posted sales of £6.07bn for last year in line with expectations. Its operating profit rose one per cent to £1.57bn.

But new chief executive Erik Engstrom warned margins would fall slightly this year due to increased investment in legal products.

He said capital spending would rise to five per cent from four per cent of the company’s total sales – which were flat as expected last year – as the company invested in its Lexis Nexis legal business whose market share has been dwindling.

The results are a welcome sign for the business, after a turbulent 2009. Former chief executive Ian Smith abruptly ended his eight-month spell at the helm of the publisher in November. The company claimed he was the wrong man to guide the company through the torrid economic times but analysts have speculated it was owed to its £829m rights issue just four months after he started.

Engstrom also announced he has no plans to try to sell the Anglo-Dutch publisher’s trade magazines as a single block, and would hold onto the company’s world-leading exhibitions business, despite its relatively poor performance last year.

Reed Elsevier is a leading provider of information for science, medical, legal and business firms.

● Its roots lead back to a printing house established in Kent in 1894. It now distributes material in more than 200 countries.