Relx Group is a provider of information solutions for professional 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 2015, the STM arm of Elsevier published 400,000 new research articles in more than 2,500 journals. Elsevier’s journals are primarily published and delivered through the ScienceDirect platform, the world’s largest database of scientific and medical research, which hosts over 13 million articles and 30,000 e-books.
CEO Erik Engstrom outlined the company’s growth and expansion strategy: "We are systematically migrating all of our businesses across RELX Group towards electronic decision tools, adding broader datasets, embedding more sophisticated analytics and leveraging more powerful technology, primarily through organic development."
Analysis & Key Developments
In 2015 RELX Group stated that revenues increased from 5.77 billion GBP in 2014 to 5.97 billion GBP. The company saw an underlying revenue and profit growth across all four business areas, with revenue growth up by 3% and profit up by 5%. Revenue by format includes 70% from print, 15% from face-to-face and from 15% electronic. Chief executive Erik Engstrom said that trading in recent months was consistent with 2015 and added that he was confident that "we will deliver another year of underlying revenue, profit, and earnings growth in 2016."
Revenues from STM for 2015 were 2.07 billion GBP, up from 2.05 billion GBP in 2014. Primary research saw strong growth from usage and article submissions, and there was continued growth in databases and electronic reference.
The Risk & Business Analytics segment closed fiscal year 2015 with strong growth across all key segments. Revenues in 2015 increased to 1.6 billion GBP, compared with 1.44 billion GBP in 2014. In 2015, 35% of revenues were derived from subscription sales, 62% from transactional sales and 3% from advertising. Electronic sales accounted for 89% of Risk & Business Analytics’ revenue.
The Legal segment experienced revenue growth from 1.4 billion GBP to 1.44 billion GBP in 2015, after a decline in 2014. The success was due to continued growth in online revenues and largely offset by further print declines. Rollout, adoption and usage of a new platform and applications continued to add growth.
Richard Mollet, former chief executive of the Publishers Association, became head of European government affairs for the RELX Group in 2016.
In October 2015 all six editors and all 31 editorial board members of research journal Lingua resigned in protest over Elsevier's high subscription rates and failure to embrace open access. The group started a new open-access general linguistics journal called Glossa in January 2016, once their contracts expired. The journal is published by Ubiquity Press in the Fair Open Access network.
The RELX Group continued to focus acquisitions on select, targeted data sets and analytics, and assets in high growth markets that support the company’s organic growth strategies. RELX Group completed 19 small transactions for a total of 171 million GBP, slightly below average for the past few years. The company also completed the sale of a number of small, non-strategic assets for 73 million GBP. Acquisitions contributed 2% to revenue growth, offset by disposals which reduced revenue growth by 2%.
The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in some 40 countries. In 2015, 41% of revenue was derived from North America, 27% from Europe and the remaining 32% from the rest of the world.
STM’s electronic revenues accounted for 76% of the division’s total revenues and, and 79% of the Legal business revenue came from digital sales.