LONDON — Parent company of RX Global Events, RELX, has released its earnings report for 2022 and the results show the organization’s market positions remain strong across the group, especially in its exhibition division.
Total revenue in 2022 was £8,553m, up over £7,244m in 2021 for an underlying revenue growth of 9%. The underlying growth rate reflects strong growth in all four RELX market segments: electronic and face-to-face revenues were solid though partially offset by continued print revenue declines. Risk continued to deliver strong growth, while both STM and Legal improved their growth rates.
Regionally, RELX’s North American operations led the way with revenues of £5,101m up from £4,321m in 2021. Europe generated 2022 revenues of £1,800m compared to £1,472m in 2021. Revenues for the rest of RELX’s global operations grew from £1,451m to £1,652m over the same period.
Commenting on the the RELX earnings report, Chief Executive Officer, Erik Engstrom, said: “RELX delivered strong revenue and profit growth in 2022. The improving long-term growth trajectory is being driven by the ongoing shift in our business mix towards higher growth analytics and decision tools that deliver enhanced value to our customers across market segments.”
Exhibitions saw a strong recovery in revenue. Revenue growth was driven by a significant increase in face-to-face activity as exhibition venues reopened across most of the world. Adjusted operating profit in exhibitions for 2022 was £953m, a 78% increase over the £534m of operating profit in 2021. “The financial results prove that RX globally has seen a strong recovery in 2022. It is clear the appetite for face-to-face events is as strong as ever, providing unique value for our customers that cannot be replicated through other channels,” said Scott Stevens, RX Global Group Vice President, Data, Digital, Registration, Procurement & Pricing for the Americas.
Exhibition cycling, the practice of exhibitors attending multiple trade shows in a short period of time, had a positive impact, giving revenue growth a constant currency of 11%. The impact of currency movements also increased revenue growth by 7%. Reported revenue including the effects of exhibition cycling and currency movements, was £8,553m in 2022 (2021: £7,244m), up 18%.
During 2022, the RELX earnings report noted that its exhibition business managed its event schedule flexibly, responding to changes in local government policies. By the end of the year exhibitions were operating without material disruption in most countries. Good progress was also made on digital initiatives, with a growing range of digital tools supporting physical events.
“Coming out the pandemic we have learned some great lessons from digital experiments that can be infused into our face-to-face events. In 2022, we continued to grow our suite of digital solutions to provide a more immersive experience for both our buyers and sellers, which has been met with extremely positive adoption and feedback. In particular, the launch of our Exhibitor Dashboard, we ushered in a new era of data-driven event performance analysis, enabling exhibitors to measure and improve their return on investment,” said Stevens.
Moving forward in 2023, the report forecasts that face-to-face events will remain susceptible to economic cycles, communicable diseases, severe weather events and other natural disasters, terrorism and assignment of venues to alternative uses. It specifically pointed out that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on RELX’s business continues to depend on a range of factors which are not easy to accurately predict, including the duration and scope of the pandemic, and the duration and extent of containment measures, such as quarantines or other travel restrictions and site closures. These measures have had and may continue to have an impact on the exhibitions business with ongoing changing government restrictions on in-person events, in particular in China.
But overall RELX feels that momentum remains strong across the group, and expectations are high for underlying growth rates in revenue and adjusted operating profit to remain above historical trends, driving another year of strong growth in adjusted earnings per share on a constant currency basis. “In recognition of our strong cash flow and financial position we are proposing a 10% increase in the full year dividend, and we intend to deploy a total of £800m on share buybacks in 2023,” said Engstrom.
Reach Erik Engstrom at +44 (0)20 7166 5724 and Scott Stevens at (203) 840-4800.