RELX Group, the global professional information and analytics company, reports continued underlying growth in revenue, operating profit and earnings in the first half of 2018.
Commenting on the results, Sir Anthony Habgood, Chairman, said:
“RELX Group continued its positive development in the first half of 2018. Adjusted earnings per share in constant currencies grew +7%, and we have announced an interim dividend increase of +6% for RELX PLC and +6% for RELX NV. This will be the last time that we will announce two separate dividends, as the measures to remove complexity and increase the transparency of our corporate structure that we announced in February 2018 were approved by RELX PLC and RELX NV shareholders in June, and will become effective in September.”
Chief Executive Officer, Erik Engstrom, commented:
“We achieved good underlying revenue growth in the first half of 2018, and continued to generate underlying operating profit growth ahead of revenue growth.”
“We continued to make good progress on our strategic objectives. Our number one priority remains the organic development of increasingly sophisticated information-based analytics and decision tools that deliver enhanced value to our customers. We have also had an active first half for acquisitions, focusing on targeted data sets, analytics and assets that support our organic growth strategies.”
2017 figures restated for new accounting standards (see note 1 on page 22 of full press release)
Revenue of £3,653m/€4,164m; underlying growth +4%:The underlying growth rate reflects good growth in electronic and face-to-face revenues (91% of the total), and the further development of our analytics and decision tools, partially offset by continued print revenue declines.
Adjusted operating profit of £1,149m/€1,310m; underlying growth +6%: Growth was driven by revenue growth and close control of costs. When expressed in sterling adjusted operating profit was unchanged, and was -2% lower when expressed in euros.
Reported operating profit: Reported operating profit, including amortisation of acquired intangible assets, was £969m (£942m) or €1,105m (€1,093m).
Interest and tax: Adjusted net interest expense was £95m (£96m) or €108m (€112m). Adjusted tax was £234m (£239m) or €267m (€277m). The adjusted effective tax rate was 22.2%. Reported tax was £192m (£178m) or €219m (€206m).
Adjusted EPS growth in constant currencies +7%: Adjusted EPS expressed in sterling was 41.1p (+3%), or €0.469 (+1%) expressed in euros. The difference in growth rates between the sterling and euro EPS reflects the movement in exchange rates.
Reported EPS: Reported EPS expressed in sterling was 34.1p (33.6p) and expressed in euros was €0.389 (€0.390).
Dividend: We have announced an interim dividend increase of +6% to 12.4p for RELX PLC and +6% to €0.140 for RELX NV.
Net debt/EBITDA 2.5x including leases and pensions: Net debt, including leases as per IFRS 16, was £6.2bn/€7.0bn at 30 June 2018. The adjusted cash flow conversion rate was 93% (90%), with capital expenditure as a percentage of revenues of 4%. Excluding leases and pensions, net debt/EBITDA was 2.3x.
Portfolio development: In the first half of 2018 we completed five acquisitions of content, data analytics and exhibition assets for a total consideration of £694m, including ThreatMetrix acquired by Risk & Business Analytics, and disposed of three assets for a total of £26m.
Share buybacks: We deployed £500m on share buybacks in the first half of 2018, and we intend to deploy a further £200m in the second half, bringing the full year total to the previously announced £700m. Of the £200m second half total, £25m has already been completed since 1 July 2018.
Corporate simplification: The simplification measures which we announced in February 2018 have been approved by RELX PLC and RELX NV shareholders, with more than 99.9% voting in favour of the simplification measures in both parent companies. The effective date of the simplification will be 8 September 2018, and RELX PLC shares will be included in the FTSE 100 index with a full weighting when dealings in the new shares commence on 10 September 2018. We expect RELX PLC also to be included in the AEX index, with a full weighting by year end.
FULL YEAR 2018 OUTLOOK
As we enter the second half of 2018, key business trends are unchanged, and we are confident that, by continuing to execute on our strategy, we will deliver another year of underlying growth in revenue and in adjusted operating profit, together with growth in adjusted earnings per share on a constant currency basis.
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