Relx Group is a provider of information solutions for professionals in many industries. It is owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV, which are listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, respectively. Shareholders in Reed Elsevier PLC own a 52.9% interest in Relx Group, while Reed Elsevier NV shareholders own a 47.1% interest.
Relx Group, formerly Reed Elsevier, is a UK registered media company and a global provider of scientific, technical, and medical information products and services. In 2014, the STM arm of Elsevier published 360.000 new research articles in more than 2,000 journals. Elsevier’s journals are primarily published and delivered through the ScienceDirect platform, the world’s largest database of scientific and medical research, which holds over 12 million articles and 30,000 e-books
CEO Erik Engstrom outlined the company’s projected goals in last year’s annual report with an emphasis on digital migration and growth: “We are transforming our core business, building out new products and expanding into higher growth adjacencies and geographies. We are supplementing this organic development with selective acquisitions of targeted data and content sets, and assets in high-growth markets and geographies.”
Risk Solutions and Business Information were combined into one business unit in 2014. The new Risk & Business Information division is no longer included in this ranking.
Analysis & Key Developments
Reed Elsevier’s last financial statement before becoming RELX Group reported overall turnover of 5.77 billion GBP for 2014, down from 6.04 billion GBP in 2013. While Engstrom pointed to “good momentum across our key financial metrics of underlying revenue growth, underlying operating profit growth, adjusted earnings per share growth, and return on invested capital,” analysts were disappointed by results that were lower than expected.
While underlying revenues grew 2% and adjusted operating profits grew 3%, reported revenues and operating profits declined. According to company information, the difference is due to fluctuations in exchange rates. STM saw double-digit growth in subscription journal article submissions and usage, and continued growth in databases and tools, with strong digital growth across all segments.
Revenue from the Legal segment dropped from 1.57 billion GBP to 1.4 billion GBP in 2014. Adjusted operating profits grew from 238 million GBP to 260 million GBP. Overall revenue growth was limited by subdued market conditions in the US and Europe. Growth in online revenues were largely offset by print declines.
Reed Elsevier changed its name to RELX Group to simplify its corporate structure by combining the assets below its UK and Dutch parent companies into a single group entity for the first time.
CEO Erik Engstrom said the company chose the “shorter and more modern name” to reflect the company’s transformation in recent years from a publishing group to a “technology, content and analytics driven business”. The company’s business units were not renamed.
The new group ended cross-shareholding between the two parent companies, and Engstrom pledged that the company would “simplify our share listings and increase share price transparency by moving the equalisation ratio for all our share listings to one-to-one from 1 July 2015.”
The North American market accounts for 50% of corporate revenues, with 29% from Europe and 21% from the rest of the world.
Digital revenues from STM account for 74% of the total, and growth has continued across oall segments. The Legal segment generates 77% of its revenues from digital sales.