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Relx shares slide after 13% profit growth disappoints

Stock Markets Feb 10, 2022 08:45
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© Reuters.

By Kate Holton

LONDON (Reuters) -European information provider Relx said underlying growth this year would be ahead of historical trends due to demand for analytics and machine-learning tools from clients across its risk, science and legal divisions.

The British company, previously called Reed Elsevier (LON:REL), has been one of the most stable and predictable companies on the FTSE 100 after it moved from being a volatile ad-supported media group to focus on the world of data analytics and AI.

It is now in a position to help companies predict risk, such as spotting fraud by confirming customer identities, tools that took on greater importance during the pandemic, while also analysing mass data sets to enable clients to make decisions.

Having grown revenues by around an annual 4% prior to the pandemic, it saw 7% growth in 2021 and said it expected revenue and profit growth to remain above the historical trends in 2022.

Relx said it would propose a full-year dividend up 6% and would relaunch a 500 million pound ($677 million) share buyback.

Its shares slipped 3% in early trade, however, as analysts said it slightly missed its 2021 operating profit forecast, taking the steam out of a stock that is up 26% in the last year, making it Britain's biggest TMT company with a market cap before Thursday's update of 45 billion pounds ($61 billion).

"We believe that this improved growth trajectory is a reflection of our ongoing strategy of focusing on the organic development of increasingly sophisticated analytics and decision tools that deliver enhanced value to our customers across market segments," CEO Erik Engstrom said.

Across its divisions, its Risk unit which provides the fraud prevention and identity solutions tools, posted underlying revenue growth of 9%, while its much smaller division of Exhibitions rebounded with 44% growth after the pandemic.

For 2021, it posted adjusted operating profit up 13% to 2.21 billion pounds. Citi analysts had been expecting 2.27 billion pounds.

($1 = 0.7378 pounds)

Relx shares slide after 13% profit growth disappoints
 

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