Reed Elsevier has reported underlying sales growth of 1% in its first half, calling it an “improved performance” after making “considerable progress”. But it has warned that “recovery will be gradual as conditions remain constrained in many of our markets”. The STM and law publisher recorded sales of £2.99bn for the 6 month period to 30th June, down 2% on the previous year. It made an adjusted operating profit of £758m, compared with £782m, made a year earlier. At Elsevier sales grew 1% to £955m, with adjusted operating profit up 5% at £319m. At Lexis Nexis sales fell 1% to £1.3bn, with adjusted operating profits down 15% to £280m. At Reed Exhibitions sales grew 8% to £383m, with adjusted operating profit of £123m, up 3%. At Reed Business Information sales fell 19% to £374m, with profits up 3% at £40

Reed Elsevier’s chief executive officer, Erik Engstrom, said: “We have made considerable progress in the first half against our business priorities.  Subscription renewals in our science and medical business have been completed in line with our expectations in a difficult academic budget environment.  Within LexisNexis, we have sharpened our focus on the legal and risk solutions businesses in their respective markets; good progress has been made in the development of the next generation of our legal products and supporting infrastructure; strong products are driving growth in risk solutions…While we have seen an improvement in the general economic environment and the actions we are taking are beginning to bear fruit, recovery will be gradual as conditions remain constrained in many of our markets.”