MESSAGE FROM SIR CRISPIN DAVIS:
Reed Elsevier to exit the defence exhibitions business
We are announcing today that we plan to exit the defence exhibitions business.
Over the last year or so it has become increasingly clear that growing numbers of important customers and authors, particularly in the science and medical markets, have very real concerns with our involvement in this sector. They believe strongly that our presence here is incompatible with the aims of the science and medical communities. I am also very aware this is a view shared by a number of our employees. We have listened closely to these concerns and we have concluded that the long term interests of Reed Elsevier as a leading publisher of science, medical, legal and business content would be best served by withdrawing from defence exhibitions. We intend to complete the withdrawal during the second half of 2007.
We will of course fulfil all our contractual obligations with our partners in the defence business in the interim.
This has not been an easy decision. While the defence exhibitions business is quite small, accounting for around 0.5% of total Group revenue, it is a high quality business, with strong management and good growth. It is an important industry in ensuring countries have effective defence capability, as enshrined in the UN Charter. Our people in Reed Exhibitions have worked very hard to make these businesses successful and run them to the highest standards, for which I would like to thank them. Nevertheless, we believe the growing and genuine concerns of increasing numbers of our customers must be paramount.