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Elsevier parent company profits hit by Covid-19

Image: nancekievill, via Shutterstock

Print publishing revenue has undergone ‘unusually steep declines’, Relx reports

Relx, the parent company of the data analytics and publishing giant Elsevier, reported a 10 per cent drop in revenue and a 24 per cent drop in adjusted operating profit in the first half of 2020, citing the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Revenue across Relx totalled £3.5 billion (€3.8bn) in the first six months of the year, the company reported on 23 July, down from £3.9bn in the first six months of 2019. Adjusted operating profit came to £939 million, down from £1.2bn.

Print revenue under Relx’s scientific, technical and medical arm, which includes Elsevier, was “impacted by distribution issues related to Covid-19 [and] saw unusually steep declines” of 17 per cent. However, revenue and profits for this arm were up, with underlying growth of 1 per cent for both. This was driven by 4 per cent growth in electronic revenue.

The overall slump for Relx was due to its exhibitions arm, with revenue falling to £201m from £684m. This arm made an adjusted operating loss of £117m, down from a 2019 first-half profit of £231m.

Relx chief executive officer Erik Engström said that, in the longer term, the company would continue to focus on developing its information-based analytics and decision tools as well as “selective acquisitions of targeted data, analytics and exhibition assets”.