Exhibition business struggles throughout pandemic
Relx Group announced on Thursday it will hike its dividend by 3% to 47p after a forecasted return to pre-pandemic profit levels.
The news comes despite its exhibition business posting losses as a result of Covid-19. Exhibition, a leading global events business within RELX, saw its revenues fall sharply by 71% to £362m over the course of 2020, as people across the world were no longer able to congregate in large groups.
The company’s other areas of focus, STM (Scientific, Technical and Medical), risk and legal saw small profit rises as they performed relatively well over 2020.
As a whole, RELX posted £7.1bn revenue, a 10% fall compared to 2019. Its pre-tax profit also dropped by 13% to £1.9bn.
RELX’s share price was up on early Thursday morning trade by 1.8% to 1,805p.
RELX chairman, Anthony Habgood, said the decision to raise the shareholder payout reflected an optimistic outlook moving forward.
“Earnings per share is currently being impacted by Covid-19 related disruption to our exhibitions business, but we are proposing a 3% increase in the dividend to 47.0p reflecting our consistent track record and our confidence in the outlook for the company,” Habgood said.
Habgood also stated that the company is well positioned to allow for a smooth transition as he makes way for the incoming chairman, Paul Walker.
“I believe that overall the company is well positioned managerially, financially and strategically as I prepare to hand over the Chair to Paul Walker in March,” Habgood said.
“Paul’s strong record of value creation, deep understanding of corporate governance, and extensive international experience in sectors relevant to RELX’s business, make him ideally suited to the role of Chair, and I am confident that RELX will continue to prosper under his stewardship.”