Reed Elsevier Increases Share Buyback After Profit Rises 7%

Reed Elsevier Plc (REL) said it will spend 600 million pounds ($922 million) on share buybacks this year after earnings rose on sales in its risk business, which includes products for the insurance industry to detect fraud.

First-half operating profit, adjusted to exclude the effects of acquisitions, disposals and one-time items, climbed 7 percent to 592 million pounds, the London-based owner of the LexisNexis database said in a statement today. Reed spent 300 million pounds buying back shares in the first half.

“This is a good set of results with strong top-line growth that’s reflective of our strategy as we continue to migrate from print to electronic,” Chief Executive Officer Erik Engstrom said in a phone interview.

Engstrom said that 83 percent of Reed Elsevier’s revenue now comes from digital operations and its exhibitions business and the company will continue to dispose of units that don’t fit with its strategy for organic growth. The Anglo-Dutch publisher has been selling trade magazines and other businesses to focus on electronic data services and research offerings and reduce dependency on ad revenue.

The shares rose 3.5 percent to 829 pence at 9:24 a.m. in London, giving the company a market value of 9.8 billion pounds.

First-half revenue fell 1 percent to 3.03 billion pounds.

Reed Elsevier last month sold its French media unit RBI France to funds belonging to Edmond de Rothschild Group and BNP Paribas Developpement. The company sold its Australian media business in January and the Hollywood trade magazine Variety in October.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kristen Schweizer in London at kschweizer1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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