SOURCE: Wolters Kluwer NV

November 04, 2009 02:14 ET

Wolters Kluwer Focuses on the Future; Strategy Update: Maximizing Value for Customers

ALPHEN AAN DEN RIJN, NETHERLANDS--(Marketwire - November 4, 2009) -


Alphen aan den Rijn (November 4, 2009) - Wolters Kluwer, a market-leading global information services and publishing company focused on professionals, today outlined its three-year strategy for Maximizing Value for Customers. With a focus on the future, the 2010-2012 strategic path builds on the successful transformation of Wolters Kluwer and leverages the company's global leading market positions to drive value for customers and shareholders.

Nancy McKinstry, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board, commented: "I am confident that our strategy for 2010-2012, Maximizing Value for Customers, will drive greater value for our customers and shareholders. We are well positioned for the future based on the successful transformation of our business. Our strong foundation includes global leading market positions, a resilient subscription portfolio, world-class electronic and software capabilities, and a solid financial position. These strengths enable us to create information-enabled solutions and networks that help our customers deliver tangible results. In the context of macro trends that lead to increased regulation, more compliance complexity, and greater focus on productivity by customers, Wolters Kluwer has the assets and expertise to deliver intelligent solutions that reduce complexity and drive efficiencies for our customers.

"The globalization of our organization, integrated product lines, and coordinated back office functions reflect the needs of our customers and is the logical next step in the evolution of Wolters Kluwer. We will make full use of the value of our global footprint to focus on innovation to drive better connectivity between our customers and their clients, and to continue investing in our strong market-leading positions.

"Our portfolio transformation has enhanced the company's competitive position. Today, Wolters Kluwer has significant global scale in each of its key markets. Wolters Kluwer holds the number one position in the global tax and accounting market and has strong leading positions in the global legal and regulatory and health markets. These robust market positions provide a significant foundation for delivering results by increasing the pace of innovation across geographies and by leveraging economies of scale in product development and technology."

Strategy for 2010-2012: Maximizing Value for Customers

The vision to be The Professional's First Choice remains core to the company's strategy. The strategy for Maximizing Value for Customers centers on being the preferred global provider of information-enabled solutions to enable professionals to manage processes and drive results effectively. The company will achieve this objective by delivering against three strategic priorities:

  * Deliver Value at the Point-of-Use by helping customers manage
    complex transactions to produce tangible results. Wolters
    Kluwer's value begins with high quality, proprietary information
    embedded in tools and solutions. This value is extended by
    helping professionals automate processes and manage complex
    decisions and transactions with intelligent solutions and
    networks.

  * Expand Solutions Across Processes, Customers, and Networks by
    following the transaction flow of the professional customers and
    delivering solutions across key activities. Wolters Kluwer will
    move towards providing intelligent solutions and collaborative
    networks to help its customers produce results efficiently by
    connecting them with clients, governments, and other stakeholders
    critical to their work.

  * Raise Innovation and Effectiveness Through Global Footprint by
    aligning Wolters Kluwer businesses and operations along its
    strong global market positions, with the creation of four global
    divisions: Legal & Regulatory, Tax & Accounting, Health & Pharma
    Solutions, and Financial & Compliance Services. This change will
    support innovation and efficiencies by sharing technology
    platforms, global products, and common business models.

Maximizing Value for Customers Builds on the Company's Success as the Professional's First Choice

Wolters Kluwer has established itself as the Professional's First Choice for information, software and services which help professionals improve their decision making and productivity. The company's 2006-2009 strategic plan to drive profitable growth has successfully extended value to customers by producing high-quality solutions that drive productivity by combining proprietary content with software applications to automate key tasks for the professional. The company has successfully achieved the goals set out under its current 2006-2009 strategic plan for profitable growth, including:

  * Enhanced its portfolio by shifting to higher value added products
    and stronger growth markets
  * Continued investments of 8-10% of revenues in new products and
    platforms to support growth
  * Expanded electronic revenues to more than 50% of the portfolio
  * Extended subscription and other non-cyclical revenues to more
    than 70% of the portfolio
  * Achieved operating efficiencies and improved operating margins
  * Strengthened its solid financial position and improved financial
    flexibility
  * Delivered substantial EPS growth

Springboard Expansion

The Springboard operational excellence program is designed to further business optimization initiatives resulting in sustainable margin growth. Savings are expected to result largely from standardized technology platforms and consolidated IT infrastructure, streamlined content manufacturing processes, expanded global sourcing programs, offshore service centers for software development and testing, and content production and back office support functions.

Execution to date has exceeded expectations giving the company further confidence in achieving its full-year 2009 ordinary EBITA margin guidance. As a result, the full program run rate savings estimates have been increased and the program has been expanded. The expansion and acceleration of supply management initiatives in Europe will contribute positively to the program results. Additionally, further business optimization initiatives in France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Law & Business will contribute to additional savings. Furthermore, annualized run rate savings estimates for the full program have been increased to EUR 140-160 million by 2011, an increase over the previous estimate of EUR 120 million. Related exceptional expenses are expected to increase to approximately EUR 220-240 million for the full program by 2011.


+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
|Savings and Cost Estimates (EUR  millions   | Previous | Increased |
| pre tax)                                   | Guidance |  Guidance |
|--------------------------------------------+----------+-----------|
| 2011 Run Rate Cost Savings                 |      120 |   140-160 |
|--------------------------------------------+----------+-----------|
| Exceptional Program Costs                  |      180 |   220-240 |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+


Global Organization

To drive the strategy for Maximizing Value for Customers, Wolters Kluwer will transition to a global organization. Beginning in 2010, the organization of the company will be aligned along four global operating divisions: Legal & Regulatory (CEO Donatella Treu), Tax & Accounting (CEO Kevin Robert), Health & Pharma Solutions (CEO Bob Becker), and Financial & Compliance Services (CEO Brian Longe). The four divisions will report into Nancy McKinstry, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board. With the expansion of the Springboard program, Chris Cartwright, the CEO of the current Corporate & Financial Services division, will move to a role supporting the successful execution of this important initiative, reporting to Jack Lynch, Member of the Executive Board.

As part of this transition to a global and integrated organization, the company previously announced the creation of Global Shared Services, headed by Tom Lesica, and a regional management structure for its Legal, Tax & Regulatory units in Europe.

Guidance 2010-2012

The Wolters Kluwer strategy is focused on maximizing value for customers and shareholders, reflected in Key Performance Indicators.


+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Key Performance Indicators | Medium-Term Guidance 2010-2012       |
|----------------------------+--------------------------------------|
|                            | *   Double-digit growth in online    |
|                            |   and software revenues              |
|                            | *   Online, software & services      |
|                            |   revenue > = 75% of total revenues  |
| Portfolio composition      | *   Subscription and other           |
|                            |   non-cyclical revenue > = 75% of    |
|                            |   total revenues                     |
|                            | *   Print revenue < = 25% of total   |
|                            |   revenues                           |
|----------------------------+--------------------------------------|
|                            | *   Broadly in line with recent      |
|                            |   levels under current economic      |
| Ordinary EBITA margin      |   conditions                         |
|                            | *   Consistent improvement           |
|                            |   thereafter                         |
|----------------------------+--------------------------------------|
| Diluted ordinary earnings  | *   Improvement beyond current       |
| per share                  |   economic conditions in constant    |
|                            |   currencies                         |
|----------------------------+--------------------------------------|
|                            | * > = EUR 400 million per annum over |
| Free cash flow             |   the medium term in constant        |
|                            |   currencies                         |
|----------------------------+--------------------------------------|
| Return on invested capital | *  > = 8% over the medium term       |
| (after tax)                |                                      |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+


Solid Financial Position Underpins Strategy for Maximizing Value for Customers

The company's solid financial position underpins its 2010-2012 guidance. Management reiterates the net-debt-to-EBITDA target of 2.5 times. Priorities for the uses of free cash flow will include rewarding our shareholders through a progressive dividend policy, improving our financial leverage, and investments in the business. Management reiterates its commitment to invest between 8-10% of revenues in new products and platforms to drive profitable growth over the medium term.

Benchmark Figures

Wherever used in this press release, the term "ordinary" refers to figures adjusted for exceptional items and, where applicable, amortization of publishing rights and impairment of goodwill and publishing rights. Exceptional items consist of qualifying restructuring expenses. "Ordinary" figures are non-IFRS compliant financial figures, but are internally regarded as key performance indicators to measure the underlying performance of the base business. These figures are presented as additional information and do not replace the information in the income statement and in the cash flow statement. The term "ordinary" is not a defined term under International GAAP.

About Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer is a leading global information services and publishing company. The company provides products and services for professionals in the health, tax, accounting, corporate, financial services, legal, and regulatory sectors. Wolters Kluwer had 2008 annual revenues of EUR 3.4 billion, employs approximately 20,000 people worldwide, and maintains operations in over 35 countries across Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Wolters Kluwer is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands. Its shares are quoted on Euronext Amsterdam (WKL) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices. Visit www.wolterskluwer.com for information about our market positions, customers, brands, and organization.

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Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements may be identified by words such as "expect," "should," "could," "shall," and similar expressions. Wolters Kluwer cautions that such forward-looking statements are qualified by certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from what is contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Factors which could cause actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements may include, without limitation, general economic conditions; conditions in the markets in which Wolters Kluwer is engaged; behavior of customers, suppliers, and competitors; technological developments; the implementation and execution of new ICT systems or outsourcing; and legal, tax, and regulatory rules affecting Wolters Kluwer's businesses, as well as risks related to mergers, acquisitions, and divestments. In addition, financial risks such as currency movements, interest rate fluctuations, liquidity, and credit risks could influence future results. The foregoing list of factors should not be construed as exhaustive. Wolters Kluwer disclaims any intention or obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Calendar

2009 Full-Year Results                              February 24, 2010
Publication of 2009 Annual Report                   March 18, 2010
Annual General Meeting of Shareholders,             April 21, 2010
Amsterdam

Full overview available at www.wolterskluwer.com.


Media                                       Investors/Analysts
Caroline Wouters                            Kevin Entricken
Vice President, Corporate                   Vice President, Investor
Communications                              Relations
t + 31 (0)172 641 459                        t + 31 (0)172 641 407
press@wolterskluwer.com                     ir@wolterskluwer.com


Presentations by Senior Management on November 4, 2009 - Hilton Hotel
Amsterdam
Strategy Update: Maximizing Value for Customers
Investor/Analyst Meeting: 10:00 AM CET
Presentation will be webcast on the corporate website
www.wolterskluwer.com

PDF version of Press Release: http://hugin.info/130682/R/1352444/327196.pdf


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