RELX Group, the global professional information and analytics company, reports another year of underlying growth in revenue, operating profit and earnings in 2016.
Commenting on the results, Anthony Habgood, Chairman, said:
“RELX Group has continued to execute well on its strategic priorities, and the gradual improvement in our revenue growth rate reflects the progress that has been made. We are proposing a larger than usual PLC full year dividend increase primarily due to exchange rate movements. Our long term dividend policy is unchanged.”
Chief Executive Officer, Erik Engstrom, commented:
“We achieved good underlying revenue growth in 2016, and continued to generate underlying operating profit growth ahead of revenue growth, with underlying revenue and adjusted operating profit growth across all four business areas.”
“Our strategy is unchanged: 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 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.”
“Key business trends in the early part of 2017 are consistent with the early part of 2016, and we are confident that, by continuing to execute on our strategy, we will deliver another year of underlying revenue, profit, and earnings growth in 2017.”
Revenue of £6,895m/€8,412m; underlying growth +4%: The underlying growth rate reflects good growth in electronic and face-to-face revenues (87% of the total), and the further development of our analytics and decision tools, partially offset by continued print revenue declines.
Adjusted operating profit of £2,114m/€2,579m; underlying growth +6%: Growth expressed in sterling was +16%, and expressed in euros was +3%.
Reported operating profit: Reported operating profit, including amortisation of acquired intangible assets, was £1,708m (£1,497m) or €2,084m (€2,066m).
Interest and tax: Adjusted net interest expense was £180m (£153m) or €220m (€211m), with the increase reflecting higher net borrowings and currency effects. Adjusted tax was £438m (£388m) or €534m (€535m). The adjusted effective tax rate was 22.7%.
Adjusted EPS growth in constant currencies +8%: Adjusted EPS expressed in sterling was 72.2p (+19%), or €0.880 (+5%) expressed in euros. The difference in growth rates between the sterling and euro EPS reflects the movement in exchange rates.
Reported EPS: Reported EPS was 56.3p (46.4p) for RELX PLC and €0.687 (€0.682) for RELX NV.
Dividend: We are proposing a full year dividend increase of +21% to 35.95p for RELX PLC and +5% to €0.423 for RELX NV. The difference in growth rates between the two dividends reflects movement in the £/Euro exchange rate since February 2016, and the elimination of the 10% UK tax credit gross up (see page 25 for details).
The long term dividend policy is unchanged. We will continue to grow the dividend broadly in line with adjusted earnings per share, subject to exchange rate considerations, whilst maintaining cover of at least two times over the longer term.
ROIC: Return on invested capital increased by 0.3 percentage points to 13.0%.
Net debt/EBITDA 2.2x on a pensions and lease adjusted basis (unadjusted 1.8x): Net debt was £4.7bn (£3.8bn) or €5.5bn (€5.1bn) on 31 December 2016, with the difference between the sterling and euro increases reflecting movements in exchange rates. The adjusted cash flow conversion rate was 95% (94%), with capital expenditure as a percentage of revenues unchanged at 5%.
Portfolio development: We completed 17 acquisitions of small content, data and exhibition assets for a total consideration of £338m, and disposed of assets for £16m.
Share buybacks: In 2016 we deployed £700m on share buybacks. In 2017 we intend to deploy a total of £700m, of which £100m has already been completed.
Key business trends in the early part of 2017 are consistent with the early part of 2016, and we are confident that, by continuing to execute on our strategy, we will deliver another year of underlying revenue, profit, and earnings growth in 2017.
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