Reed stays resilient as profits leap 20%

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The Independent Online

Reed Elsevier, the professional publishing business, yesterday revealed 1,000 jobs losses but committed itself to a double-digit earnings growth target for 2002.

Reporting full-year figures for 2001, the group said most of the job cuts had taken place, concentrated on the US, in its business-to-business publishing arm and due to the integration of its Harcourt acquisition.

Reed shares closed up 3 per cent at 595p as the company's results appeared to justify its reputation as one of the few media stocks that is resilient in a downturn. Only 15 per cent of group revenues come from advertising. Adjusted pre-tax profits for 2001 were up 20 per cent to £848m, while the bottom line figure jumped to £275m from £192m in 2000. "The strategy is working," said Crispin Davis, Reed's chief executive. "It is about getting the fundamentals right for the long term, so that we can deliver consistent outperformance."

Having bought Harcourt last year for $4.5bn (£2.7bn), which boosted Reed's scientific and medical division and its education activities, Mr Davis said the company was in the right shape. He said the biggest achievement of 2001 was a turnaround in its legal publishing division. Business-to-business publishing suffered most, with operating profit down 8 per cent.