RELX Group, the global professional information and analytics company, reports continued underlying growth in revenue, operating profit and earnings in the first half of 2017.
Commenting on the results, Anthony Habgood, Chairman, said:
“Adjusted earnings per share in constant currencies and in euros grew at +8% in the first half of 2017 as RELX Group continued to execute well on its strategic priorities. Sterling adjusted earnings per share grew at +19% as a result of currency fluctuations. We have announced an interim dividend increase of +8% for RELX NV and +14% for RELX PLC.”
Chief Executive Officer, Erik Engstrom, commented:
“We achieved good underlying revenue growth in the first half of 2017, and continued to generate underlying operating profit growth ahead of revenue growth.”
“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.”
“As we enter the second half of 2017, key business trends are unchanged, 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 £3,718m/€4,313m; underlying growth +4%: The underlying growth rate reflects good growth in electronic and face-to-face revenues (90% of the total), and the further development of our analytics and decision tools, partially offset by continued print revenue declines.
Adjusted operating profit of £1,154m/€1,339m; underlying growth +5%: Growth expressed in sterling was +15%, and expressed in euros was +4%.
Reported operating profit: Reported operating profit, including amortisation of acquired intangible assets, was £949m (£823m) or €1,101m (€1,053m).
Interest and tax: Adjusted net interest expense was broadly unchanged at £87m (£83m) or €101m (€106m). Adjusted tax was £242m (£213m) or €281m (€273m). The adjusted effective tax rate was 22.7%, in line with full year 2016.
Adjusted EPS growth in constant currencies +8%: Adjusted EPS expressed in sterling was 40.5p (+19%), or €0.470 (+8%) expressed in euros. The difference in growth rates between the sterling and euro EPS reflects the movement in average exchange rates compared to the first half of 2016.
Reported EPS: Reported EPS expressed in sterling was 34.0p (26.9p), and expressed in euros was €0.395 (€0.344).
Dividend: We have announced an interim dividend increase of +14% to 11.70p for RELX PLC and +8% to €0.132 for RELX NV. The difference in growth rates between the two dividends reflects movement in the £/Euro exchange rate since July 2016.
The total full year 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.
Net debt/EBITDA 2.4x on a pensions and lease adjusted basis (unadjusted 2.0x): Net debt was £5.0bn/€5.7bn at 30 June 2017. The adjusted cash flow conversion rate was 90% (89%), with capital expenditure as a percentage of revenues unchanged at 5%. For the full year we expect the cash conversion rate to be over 90%, in line with prior years.
Portfolio development: In the first half we completed four acquisitions of small content, data analytics and exhibition assets for a total consideration of £15m, and disposed of assets for £21m.
Share buybacks: We deployed £500m on share buybacks in the first half of 2017, 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 £40m has already been completed since 1 July 2017.
FULL YEAR 2017 OUTLOOK
As we enter the second half of 2017, key business trends are unchanged, 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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Relx EUR 17,745 +5,5ct vol. 33.000