Growth Momentum Continues, Three-Year Plan on Track
Wolters Kluwer, a leading multinational publisher and information services company, today announced half-year 2005
performance on target to meet objectives for the year and reiterated full-year guidance.
Highlights for the six months ended June 30, 2005, include:
- Half-year results in line with expectations, full-year outlook reiterated
- Revenues 1,580 mln, organic revenues up 2% driven by strong performance in Health, Corporate & Financial Services, and Tax, Accounting, & Legal divisions
- Ordinary EBITA 242 mln (261 mln prior year) and ordinary EBITA margin 15%, compared to 16% in half-year 2004, due to acceleration of product development expenditure, increased restructuring costs, and the one-off positive impact in the second quarter of 2004 from the change of the post-retirement medical plan in the US
- Structural cost savings in line with expectations; target 80 - 90 mln for full year
- Free cash flow for the half year 23 mln (182 mln previous period), due mainly to a more normal seasonal trend of working capital, compared to the one-off improvement that was generated in 2004; full-year guidance of at least 250 mln
Nancy McKinstry, Chairman of the Executive Board, commented on the Company's performance over the first half of 2005: "With top-line growth restored in 2004 and a first half in 2005 in line with expectations, we are on target to meet the objectives outlined in our three-year strategy to create shareholder value. Results through the first six months of 2005 show that our strategy of investing in new product development and sales and marketing capabilities is delivering sustainable growth. Strong customer adoption of our new online products and software solutions has affirmed our strategy of providing integrated products that improve decision making and productivity. We are encouraged by our half-year results and are confident that we will achieve our full-year objectives."
Key business highlights, reflecting progress made in the first half year:
Health: Strong organic revenue growth (4%) and all units showing good results from new product introductions. Corporate & Financial Services: Solid organic revenue growth (4%) driven by continued volume growth in corporate and mortgage services and double-digit revenue growth in trademark, UCC, and eBilling services.
Tax, Accounting & Legal: Good organic revenue growth (4%) attributed to strong software sales, favorable customer response to integrated online libraries in the tax and legal markets, and increased spending on sales and marketing to expand market positions.
Legal, Tax & Regulatory Europe: Continued improvement in organic revenue growth (0%, compared to -3% in 2004), supported by growth from new products and online services, and continued strength in Italy, Spain, and Central Europe; strategic acquisition in Italy; continued restructuring in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
Education: Results in line with expectations, with positive effects realized from the successful restructuring and new product introductions across all units.
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