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Reed Elsevier forecasts modest earnings growth in 2004

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London--Reed Elsevier said Thursday that while it will achieve double-digit earnings growth this year, its earnings growth (at constant currencies) will fall to the single digits in 2004.

The results for next year will continue to be affected by softness in the b-to-b and education markets, the company said.

At Reed Business Information, ad pages, especially in manufacturing and electronics, have continued to decline even though online sales, which now account for 10% of the business, have grown considerably.

The company said it is not budgeting for any real recovery in its b-to-b markets next year and continues to take cost actions to protect margins while increasing investment in online services.

The company did offer one bright spot, saying in a press release that “if an economic recovery really does take hold and becomes more broadly based, then Reed Business should recover quickly, most immediately in its advertising revenues.”

--Sean Callahan

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