Reed Elsevier revenue increases despite difficulty of advertising market

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London—Reed Elsevier said Thursday that its revenue increased to $9.59 billion in 2009 from $8.43 billion in 2008, an increase of 14%, although revenue was flat when factoring in currency fluctuations.

Reed Elsevier’s operating profit fell to $1.24 billion last year, from $1.42 billion in 2008, a decline of 13%, or 22% in constant currencies. The company had net debt of $6.3 billion at the end of 2009.

“Our professional information revenues held up relatively well in what was a difficult year for most of our customers. However, businesses dependent on our customers’ marketing budgets were hit hard,” Erik Engstrom, CEO of Reed Elsevier, said in a statement.

Reed Business Information, which is in the process of divesting most of its U.S. controlled-circulation properties, was hit especially hard. The unit’s revenue fell to $1.41 billion from $1.56 billion in 2008, a drop of 18% in constant currencies. The unit posted an operating loss from continuing operations of $257 million last year.

The company said this year will bring a further revenue decline for RBI. Reed Elsevier also reiterated that it plans to retain RBI US properties BuyerZone, Reed Construction Data and Variety.

Another Reed Elsevier unit, Reed Exhibitions, saw its revenue slide 21% in 2009 and its adjusted operating profit fall 28%, both at constant currencies.

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