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RELX PLC   -  REL   


Released 07:00 21-Feb-2019

RNS Number : 6698Q
21 February 2019

News release

21 February 2019




RELX, the global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools, reports continued underlying growth
in revenue, operating profit and earnings in 2018.



Ø Underlying revenue growth +4%; full year reported total £7,492m

Ø Underlying adjusted operating profit growth +6%; full year total £2,346m

Ø Adjusted EPS growth constant currency +7%; in sterling +6% to 84.7p

Ø Reported operating profit £1,964m (£1,905m)

Ø Reported EPS 71.9p (81.6p); prior year included exceptional non-cash credit relating to US tax reforms

Ø Proposed full year dividend growth +7% to 42.1p

Ø Return on invested capital up to 13.2% (12.9%)

Ø Strong financial position; cash conversion rate 96%, net debt/EBITDA 2.4x including leases and pensions

Ø Completed nine acquisitions for a total consideration of £978m

Ø £700m of share buybacks completed in 2018, announcing total of £600m in 2019

2017 figures restated for new accounting standards (see note 1 on page 23)


Commenting on the results, Sir Anthony Habgood, Chairman, said:

"RELX continued its positive development in 2018. Adjusted earnings per share in constant currencies grew +7%, and we have announced a dividend increase of +7%. In 2018 we simplified our corporate structure into a single parent company, removing complexity and increasing transparency for shareholders. Shares in the single parent company are now listed in London, Amsterdam and New York, and with a full weighting in both the FTSE 100 and AEX indices."


Chief Executive Officer, Erik Engstrom, commented:

"In 2018 we again achieved our objective to deliver good underlying revenue growth, with underlying adjusted operating profit growth ahead of underlying revenue growth, and adjusted earnings per share growth at constant currencies ahead of underlying profit growth."


"We also had an active year for acquisitions, focusing on targeted data sets, analytics and assets that support our organic growth strategies."


"Our number one strategic priority remains unchanged: the organic development of increasingly sophisticated information-based analytics and decision tools that deliver enhanced value to our customers."


"Key business trends in the early part of 2019 are consistent with 2018, and we are confident that, by continuing to execute on our strategy, we will deliver another year of underlying revenue, profit, and earnings growth in 2019."




(2017 comparatives): restated for new accounting standards


Revenue of £7,492m (£7,341m); underlying growth +4%: The underlying growth rate reflects good growth in electronic and face-to-face revenues (90% of the total), and the further development of our analytics and decision tools, partially offset by continued print revenue declines. When expressed in sterling revenue growth was +2%.


Adjusted operating profit of £2,346m (£2,284m); underlying growth +6%: Growth was driven by revenue growth and close control of costs. When expressed in sterling adjusted operating profit growth was +3%.


Reported operating profit: Reported operating profit, including amortisation of acquired intangible assets, was £1,964m (£1,905m).


Interest and tax: Adjusted net interest expense was £201m (£183m). Adjusted tax was £465m (£473m). The adjusted effective tax rate was 21.7%. Reported tax was £292m after a £112m exceptional tax credit. The prior year reported tax charge was £65m after an exceptional tax credit of £346m related to the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.


Adjusted EPS growth in constant currencies +7%: Adjusted EPS expressed in sterling was +6% to 84.7p (80.2p).


Reported EPS: Reported EPS was 71.9p (81.6p) with a lower benefit in 2018 from the exceptional tax credits referred to above.


Dividend: We are proposing a full year dividend increase of +7% to 42.1p (39.4p) for RELX PLC. The long term dividend policy is unchanged. We will continue to grow the dividend broadly in line with adjusted earnings per share, subject to exchange rate considerations, whilst maintaining cover of at least two times over the longer term.


ROIC: Return on invested capital increased to 13.2% (12.9%).


Net debt/EBITDA 2.4x including leases and pensions: Net debt, including leases as per IFRS 16, was £6.2bn (£5.0bn) at 31 December 2018. The adjusted cash flow conversion rate was 96% (96%), with capital expenditure as a percentage of revenues of 5%. Excluding leases and pensions, net debt/EBITDA was 2.2x.


Portfolio development: In 2018 we completed nine acquisitions of content, data analytics and exhibition assets for a total consideration of £978m, and disposed of eight assets for a total of £45m.


Share buybacks: In 2018 we deployed £700m on share buybacks. Following acquisition spend above historical averages in 2018, we intend to deploy a total of £600m in 2019, of which £100m has already been completed.


Corporate simplification: The simplification measures which we announced in February 2018 were approved by RELX PLC and RELX NV in June, with over 99.9% of both parent company shareholders voting in favour, and became effective on 8 September 2018. Shares in RELX PLC are now listed in London, Amsterdam and New York, with full weightings in both the FTSE 100 and AEX indices.



Key business trends in the early part of 2019 are consistent with 2018, and we are confident that, by continuing to execute on our strategy, we will deliver another year of underlying growth in revenue and in adjusted operating profit, together with growth in adjusted earnings per share on a constant currency basis.






Year ended 31 December






Change at constant currencies

Underlying growth rates







Adjusted operating profit






Adjusted operating margin






Reported operating profit






Adjusted net interest expense






Adjusted profit before tax






Adjusted tax






Non-controlling interests






Adjusted net profit






Reported net profit






Reported net margin






Adjusted earnings per share






Reported earnings per share






Net borrowings






Ordinary dividend per share






†Restated (see note 1 on page 23)




RELX uses adjusted and underlying figures as additional performance measures. Adjusted figures primarily exclude the amortisation of acquired intangible assets and other items related to acquisitions and disposals, and the associated deferred tax movements. In 2018 and 2017, we also excluded exceptional tax credits (see page 31). Reconciliations between the reported and adjusted figures are set out on page 32. Underlying growth rates are calculated at constant currencies, excluding the results of acquisitions until twelve months after purchase, and excluding the results of disposals and assets held for sale. Underlying revenue growth rates also exclude exhibition cycling. Constant currency growth rates are based on 2017 full-year average and hedge exchange rates.


2018 Reporting notes and definitions


Reporting currency: Following the corporate structure simplification our financial results will be published in sterling, with summary financial information expressed in both euros and US dollars available on pages 33 and 34 of this document.


Accounting standards: Comparative financial information for 2017 has been restated following the adoption of IFRS 9 Financial Instruments, IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers and IFRS 16 Leases from 1 January 2018. See note 1 to the consolidated financial information on page 23.


Underlying growth rates: Unless otherwise stated, all references to growth in revenue and profit in this document relate to underlying growth and, for profit, to adjusted figures. Underlying growth rates are calculated at constant currencies, and now exclude the results of acquisitions until twelve months after purchase, and the results of disposals and assets held for sale. Previously the results for acquisitions made in both the year and prior year were excluded. This change, which has brought us into line with comparable companies, had no impact on the 2018 underlying revenue growth rates at either the divisional or group level.




Colin Tennant (Investors)

+44 (0)20 7166 5751

Paul Abrahams (Media)

+44 (0)20 7166 5724


Disclaimer regarding forward-looking statements

This Announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the US Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the US Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or outcomes of RELX PLC (together with its subsidiaries, "RELX", "we" or "our") to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statement. The terms "outlook", "estimate", "project", "plan", "intend", "expect", "should", "will", "believe", "trends" and similar expressions may indicate a forward-looking statement. Important factors that could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from estimates or forecasts contained in the forward-looking statements include, among others, current and future economic, political and market forces; changes in law and legal interpretations affecting RELX intellectual property rights and internet communications; regulatory and other changes regarding the collection, transfer or use of third-party content and data; demand for RELX products and services; competitive factors in the industries in which RELX operates; ability to realise the future anticipated benefits of acquisitions; significant failure or interruption of our systems; compromises of our data security systems or other unauthorised access to our databases; legislative, fiscal, tax and regulatory developments and political risks; exchange rate fluctuations; and other risks referenced from time to time in the filings of RELX PLC with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.



RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 30,000 people of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York stock exchanges. The shares are traded using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. The total market capitalisation is approximately £33bn/€38bn/$43bn.


The Annual Report and Financial Statements 2018 are expected to be available on the RELX website at from 28 February 2019. Copies of the Annual Report and Financial Statements 2018 are expected to be posted to shareholders of RELX PLC on 7 March 2019. Copies of the 2018 Results Announcement are available to the public on the RELX website and from:



1-3 Strand

London WC2N 5JR

United Kingdom






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