Friday, November 18, 2005

Reed Elsevier's Investors Day Highlights

On November 17, RE's CEO Sir Crispin Davis and CFO Mark Armour provided a trading update to investment analysts. The overall picture was positive with 5% organic growth expected for the year. Within the four divisions, Legal is ahead of plan, Education is lagging below plan, and Science and Business are on target.

The Seisint acquisition in July, 2004 has helped bolster the Legal group's revenues and with its risk management tools has moved the group into the workflow/application arena. Including Seisint, Legal revenues are expected to grow 20% in 2005.

The Education division relies heavily on the US basal market (i.e., core texts for the K-12 market) and isn't as well positioned to benefit from growth in e-learning in professional markets as is Thomson or Wolters Kluwer. Low single digit organic growth is now expected for this division for 2005.

In the Science division, I found it encouraging to hear that library budgets for content are now growing 4-6%. Elsevier's investment in developing Scopus is also paying off with sales ahead of plan, and new updates forthcoming.

The Business division is weathering the print ad decline fairly well through offsetting growth in online services and good performance in the exhibition business.

Reed Elsevier will hold an Investor Seminar next Monday, November 21 with senior executives from Elsevier and other divisions. Shore will report more detail on the performance of the groups at that time.
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