Earnings: RBI Performs Well, Divestment Attracts ‘Strong Interest’

imageAnglo-Dutch publisher Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK) reported “strong buyer interest” for its for-sale Reed Business Information (RBI) unit, which it is already presenting as a discontinued operation. Variety and New Scientist publisher RBI got 20 percent more online revenue in the six months to June, with digital now making up over a third of the total (over half in the UK).

And it’s still performing well – operating profit up seven percent to £62 million on three percent better revenue of £484 million ($958 million) on online services demand – adding more blogs to its offerings this week. The sale is now expected in the second half of the year, with proceeds going to reduce Reed’s debt. Reed said it would “reduce exposure to advertising revenues which fit less well with (its) subscription-based information and workflow solutions focus”, ie. there’s an advertising recession coming and Reed wants no part of it.

Overall group revenue is up 10 percent to £1.9 billion (3.76 billion), again on online growth and sale of workflow solutions, with operating profit up eight percent to £401 million ($793 million). CEO Crispin Black said being in the professional publishing sector shelters it from the consumer advertising downturn. Release & Financials