Robust year for Reed Elsevier

<p>The publishing arm of Reed Elsevier has had a &quot;relatively robust year&quot; in light of the economic downturn, thanks to good subscription renewal rates among its journals and strong e-book sales, the company has claimed.</p><p>The company saw revenue growth climb 14%, as did adjusted operating profit, and cashflow grew 11%. However reported operating profit declined 13%.</p><p>Elsevier, which contains the science publishing divisions and accounts for 44% of adjusted profits for the entire group, saw sales grow 4%, while profit increased 9%.</p><p>The legal wing LexisNexis, which makes up 42% of adjusted operating profits for the group, saw sales grow 14%, and adjusted operating profit rise 13%, at constant currency. Reed said its core law firm markets were flat in US and marginally lower internationally reflecting a downturn in legal services industry. </p><p>The exhibitions arm, which owns London Book Fair among other events, and accounts for 10% of total revenues, saw revenues drop 21% and profits 28% over the period. Reed blamed &quot;lower space sales and fewer paying delegates as corporations cut back on marketing spend&quot;.</p><p>Anthony Habgood, chairman of Reed Elsevier, said the results were pleasing given the depth of the global recession&quot;.</p><p>Although he stressed the company had &quot;substantially strengthened&quot; its balance sheet in the second half of the year, Habgood warned: &quot;The late cycle nature of some of our markets makes for a tough environment in 2010. The fundamentals of our businesses are strong, our balance sheet is in good shape and new management is in place with the background, experience and ambition to drive the business forward.&rdquo;</p><p>Part of that new management, chief executive Erik Engstrom, added that &quot;businesses dependent on our customers&rsquo; marketing budgets were hit hard&quot; during the year, and said some of these markets &quot;remain under pressure&quot; in the short term. </p><p>One area of concern highlighted within the report is the growth of open access within the journals market. &quot;If these methods of STM publishing are widely adopted or mandated, it could adversely affect our revenue from paid subscription publications,&quot; the statement said.</p><p>Digital piracy, and the need to protect Reed Elsevier&#39;s intellectual property, was also highlighted as a &quot;principal risk&quot;, warning that &quot;our proprietary rights could be challenged, limited, invalidated or<br />circumvented&quot;. <br /><br /><br /> </p>